An East Lancashire pub is one of two in the North West to have benefited from a £39 million investment nationwide from brewery Heineken.

Star Pubs, part of Heineken UK, said the investment will revamp pubs to cater for multiple occasions, maximise events, and create more than 1,000 jobs.

A total of 612 pubs will benefit, with The Whitakers Arms in Accrington among them, as part of £2.24 million spent in the North West.

The brewing company said the revamps are designed to broaden each pub’s use and appeal, giving people additional reasons to visit.

Subtle zoning will signpost pubgoers to the area likely to suit them best, enabling different groups of customers to simultaneously enjoy a variety of activities – from watching sports to dining – without disturbing each other.

Dividing screens and distinct changes to lighting, sound systems, and furniture styles will help delineate the zones.

Other common changes will include overhauling cellars with state-of-the-art dispense equipment to ensure consistently perfect pints and repositioning tills to speed up service.

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Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star Pubs, said: “People are looking for maximum value from visits to their local.

"They want great surroundings and food and drink as well as activities that give them an extra reason to go out, such as sports screenings and entertainment.

“Creating fantastic locals that can accommodate a range of occasions meets this need and helps pubs fulfil their role as vital third spaces where communities can come together.

“Pubs have proved their enduring appeal; after all the disruption of recent years, Star is on track to have the lowest number of long-term closed pubs since 2019.

"It’s a tribute to the drive and entrepreneurship of licensees and the importance of continued investment.

“We’ve spent more than £200m maintaining and upgrading our pubs over the last five years, and we’ll continue to invest to keep them open and thriving.

“Time and again we see the value consumers place on having a good local and how important it is to communities.

"Well-invested pubs run by great licensees are here to stay, but like all locals, need Government support to reduce the enormous tax burden they shoulder.”

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The Whitakers Arms reopened at the end of February following a £287,000 refurbishment that created 10 new jobs, and has been thriving since.

The investment transformed the pub into a family-friendly local catering for the whole community, now with a traditional bar, a comfortable lounge and dining area, and a games zone complete with a new pool table, darts, and a high-spec TV system showing TNT Sports.

Lancashire Telegraph: A games area with a new pool table, dart board, and TV is one of the new featuresA games area with a new pool table, dart board, and TV is one of the new features (Image: Star Pubs)

The pub hosts a range of activities which bring the community together including senior citizen coffee mornings, bingo, quiz nights, Saturday evening entertainment and live sports as well as pool and darts. 

The pub’s new landlady, Vanessa Wolfenden, said: “Customers are telling my husband and myself that they have never seen the pub as busy as this.

"It is now a premium community local where residents want to spend time. 

“People are coming in who haven’t seen each other for years. We’ve everyone in here from the younger generation in their 20s to carers with the clients they’re looking after. They’re all over the moon about the pub and the fantastic atmosphere.

“We’re very hands-on and try to meet everyone, which makes a difference.  Looking forward, we want to open up the pub as a meeting space for local groups and to help raise funds for charities as well as put on family fun days.”