A former town centre pub has been given the go-ahead to reopen its doors to drinkers.

The Black Horse building in Abbey Street, Accrington, has previously been use as a 'food emporium'.

In 2011 the premises was turned into a delicatessen and café with two self-contained flats on its first floor.

But in February last year its ceased trading, falling victim of the coronavirus pandemic and soaring energy costs.

Now Mike Hampson has been given planning permission by Hyndburn Council to convert The Black Horse Food Emporium on the ground floor back into a drinking establishment serving food.

A planning officer's report recommending approval with three conditions says: "The application site is a former public house that in recent years changed to a food establishment with the upper floor converted to two residential apartments.

"The present proposal is to return the ground floor to pub use. The applicant indicates that it is now vacant.

"Policy DM8 seeks to protect existing public houses from closure.

"It says in the supporting text that: Public houses are an important part of the culture and character of Hyndburn, often forming a focus for social interaction and local community life, playing a role in the local economy as well in terms of the jobs they provide.

"Pubs provide important facilities/space for recreation and leisure activities, including live music performances and meetings of local interest groups and community events.

"They therefore form a valued and culturally important role that should be protected where possible.

"This points to the re-instatement of a pub being supported in principle by the development plan. The site is in The Accrington Town Centre Conservation Area.

"No external alterations are proposed. The conservation officer has no objection to the proposal.

"The re-birth of the historic pub is likely to significantly benefit the cultural and social health of Accrington town centre and the general well-being of the community.

"The new use of the building would serve to strengthen and safeguard the heritage of this conservation area part of the town centre."

The property will be occupied by Mr Hampson's firm ML Leisure Ltd as a drinking establishment serving both food and drinks.

Three full-time staff and five part-time staff will be employed.

The proposed opening hours are seven days a week, from 9am to 12.30am.

The bar will close at 12am allowing half an hour for customers to leave the premises.