A PUB described as "an important focal point" in a North Lancashire village is poised to reopen this spring after major investment.

The former Royal Hotel in Silverdale has stood empty since 2010, but local family-run business Holgates has spent more than £300,000 refurbishing the property on Emesgate Lane.

Owner Michael Holgate says he hopes The Royal will help the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty's tourism economy by encouraging visitors to keep returning.

"By taking the decision to invest a significant amount of money in The Royal, Holgates is helping to create sustainable jobs for local people, initially four full-time and up to six part-time roles, which may well increase in number during the 2016 visitor season," said Mr Holgate.

"We are providing additional, quality visitor facilities and are also helping to improve the look and feel of the village by renovating and improving this very visible area in its heart.’’

Once described as an 'eyesore', the former Royal Hotel has been the subject of several planning applications over recent years. Plans to convert it into housing were especially controversial among some villagers, and in 2014 Silverdale Parish Council sought to have the pub declared a community asset to safeguard its future.

Family-run Holgates has six holiday destinations in Morecambe Bay, including its flagship 100-acre park at Silverdale. Mr Holgate said: "As a large-scale employer in the area, Holgates take real pride in promoting this fantastic destination to visitors.

"It’s important that these visitors enjoy their stay, especially as they help to provide employment locally and bring money into the local economy, which in turn supports a huge variety of local businesses, including visitor attractions, galleries, shops, and food producers to name a few."

The pub has been refurbished and redesigned inside to make the layout "more inviting, stylish and comfortable as a place for people to eat and drink", say its owners. The exterior is also being improved and landscaped.

The Royal is to serve local ales, light refreshments and snacks made from locally sourced ingredients.