A HISTORIC Lytham building that has stood empty and derelict is set to be transformed into a top quality restaurant.
The former grade two listed Lytham Police Station and Magistrates Court, Bannister Street, has been sold after being on the market for two years.
Plans will be drawn up to turn it into a “bespoke” restaurant – with the rest of the site developed for residential use.
A venue similar to a “Betty’s Cafe Tea Rooms” in Harrogate has already been mentioned as a possibility.
The site as a whole already has permission for nine luxury apartments but its new owners – a consortium headed by Blackpool-based businessman Dominic Herdman – will try to change that to ten town houses.
At one time the asking price for the site was £1m, but that dropped to the current for sale price of £500,000. Selling agent Kenrick and Co said it went for less than that.
Leeds-born Mr Herdman said: “I think we will sit down and review the potential of the business – certainly talk to some of the people around the area to make sure what we do sets us up as good neighbours. It’s going to be an eaterie – it’s going to be a food business.
“We have to take things very slowly, one step at a time, and make sure we are making the right decisions.”
He added: “It’s a fantastic building, you can feel the atmosphere just standing in here. We have to produce something that fits the locality. My main focus is creating something that’s right for Lytham. I’m very aware that the people of Lytham are sensitive and are looking for standards, so that’s where we have to go.”
Mr Herdman, 46, is a third generation of licensees. His father was a former manager of the Imperial, Blackpool, and also managed at the Norbreck Castle, Savoy and Winter Gardens. The businessman worked for First Leisure for many years and owns southern-based West End Leisure Ltd.
The building retains many of its old police station and courthouse features inside.
Paul Crossley, of Kenrick’s, said: “We had a lot of interest. We’ve had clients locally and from all over the country look at this property. Wetherspoons were interested. But some of the terms, it’s a grade two listed building and there were covenants on it, caused an awful lot of problems for potential buyers.”
He added: “It’s been one of the hardest properties we’ve had to sell”