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'My £50,000 refit has kept punters away'
A PUB boss fears a £50,000 refurbishment has driven his customers away.
Ken Pritchard said punters had abandoned The Lancastrian, in Ulverston, after he gave the pub a major makeover.
Mr Pritchard said the pub on Mountbarrow Road had undergone a ‘characterful restoration’.
Upgrades have included a gold and beige patterned restaurant and a striped lime green and silver sports bar.
Walls across the 83-seat venue have been filled with his hand-picked items, including wrought iron jazz instruments, large red fish ornaments, multi-coloured lighting, flower arrangements, printed landscapes and framed black and white photography.
He has also added a disco ball, modern silver chandeliers and faux candlelights to the restaurant to ‘give it a cosy and relaxed feel’.
Mr Pritchard said he felt ‘snubbed’ after Sunday customer numbers dropped from 160 to 60 and weekday lunch trade fell to as low as 12 customers a day.
The former owner of The Friars Hotel, in Ulverston, said his efforts had ‘sent shockwaves through the town’.
“People come through and their jaws drop,” he said. “We’ve changed the whole business.”
“It used to be dated and it just catered for pensioners.
“The redecoration has been my passion.
“To me there’s nothing to dislike here. It’s got lots of features in it and it’s relaxed.
“We offer deals like two meals for £6.95 at lunch.
“We’ve even looked at bingo afternoons to keep older ones happy.
“I think people don’t like change. I hoped people would adapt.”
Mr Pritchard said he was currently losing money, and was worried about the future for the business, which employs four staff.
“I’m quite disheartened,” he said. “I don’t know how long we can keep it going.”
Meanwhile, nearby residents said they were dining elsewhere.
Nuclear engineer Peter Meadowcroft, of Ulverston, said he used to eat at The Lancastrian on a Sunday but had not visited in recent weeks.
He said he ‘wasn’t keen’ on the new iron features in the front garden.
Carol Lamb, 45, of Ulverston, said she used to visit the pub but had not been back since the refurbishment.
Another resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said she found the changes ‘garish’.