A former pub which was closed by its brewery last year due to rising costs could be turned into a café and bakery.

The former British Queen pub in Duckworth Street, Darwen, closed in December 2022 as a result of Thwaites brewery reviewing the ongoing viability of the property as a public house and looking at possible alternative uses.

After the building was put up for sale it was acquired by Morteza Zahbi of Little Italy Cuisine Ltd, who now wants to turn it into a café and bakery, as an extension of the Crown and Thistle Bakery a mile down the road.

READ MORE: The British Queen pub has closed and may never reopen

A planning application submitted to Blackburn with Darwen Council reads: “Rising costs and particularly utilities costs resulted in review of the viability of the pub and consideration of alternative uses for it.

“The brewery indicated that they were looking for opportunities to enable the property to come back as an important part of the community, albeit in a different form.

“When eventually placed on the open market for sale the property had been acquired by Little Italy Cuisine Ltd who propose use of the premises as a café/bakery trading as Crown and Thistle Craft Bakery, a second venue for the company in Darwen.

“The existing Crown and Thistle Bakery in Darwen is hugely popular with locals as well as those who work on the road given its location on Blackburn Road.

“The bakery was opened in 2021 by Mr and Mrs Zabhi who also owned the Hoddlesden pub of the same name before it closed in 2021 due to falling trade which is symptomatic of public houses in recent times.

READ MORE: Crown and Thistle pub owners to open new bakery in Darwen

“The British Queen, one mile from the existing bakery has been acquired as a second venue which will allow the business to expand its successful cake-making operations, while retaining the Blackburn Road bakery for savoury goods.

“Deliveries will ferry food between the two venues.

“The new venue will also address another major problem which has beset the existing bakery in Blackburn Road where parking is limited and issues with customers leaving their vehicles on the main road and side roads has led to complaints from local residents.

“The new venue will now provide sit-down café facilities for around 30 people offering daytime meals.”

The proposed opening hours for the café and bakery are from 8am until 5pm every day and the business will employ between 10 and 14 staff, seven days a week.

The statement continued: “Whilst the former public house had first floor residential accommodation, this part of the building will now be used only for a management office, dry stock storage and staff changing and staff rest areas.

“The property was in need of extensive internal refurbishment and repair which has been undertaken by the company at some considerable cost.

“Minimal external alterations are proposed to the building other than the provision of a small steel chill room in the rear yard alongside the bakery and a new roller shutter door at the rear side replacing older timber doors which were unsuitable for proper security of the building.

“A non-illuminated name sign is proposed on the front of the building below the first floor windows in line with previous signage when the public house use was in place. The overall character of the building will remain substantially unchanged.

“Internally the applicants have carried out extensive repair and refurbishment of the old Victorian building which was in poor structural condition.”

Anyone wishing to comment on the plans can do so via Blackburn with Darwen Council’s planning portal.