A new pub on Ellesmere Port’s historic high street is tying up to the town’s heritage as an important canal port.
Blackpool-based Amber Taverns, which acquired The Thomas Telford from Wetherspoon, is due to open the doors of the newly named The William Jessop on Thursday, November 30.
The naming links the pub to the two men, both giants of the canal building which saw the town linked to the waterways at the end of the 18th century.
It was announced last year The Thomas Telford, originally the town’s Co-op, was one of 45 pubs being disposed of nationally by Wetherspoon for ‘commercial’ reasons.
Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said at the time: “We appreciate that our loyal customers will be disappointed with the decision. The pubs will remain trading as Wetherspoon pubs as normal until or if the pubs are sold.”
Following the closure Wetherspoon added: “All staff are being relocated to other Wetherspoon pubs in the area, including The Wheatsheaf in Ellesmere Port and our pubs in Chester so there will be no job losses as a result of this closure.”
The local branch of CAMRA described The Thomas Telford, which opened in 2003, as having ‘a slightly more classy feel than a typical ‘spoons venue’ thanks largely to thoughtfully fitted lighting and some good modern decorative features’.
Amber say they will be opening a ‘traditional pub with a modern feel’.
“We will show all live sport and serve a wide range of drink at the best prices in the town,” they claim.
The company’s website discloses Ellesmere Port to be a target town for Amber which pays finders fees of 2% of purchase price up to a maximum of £15,000.
Acquisitions should be freehold or on a long leasehold of at least 50 years in high street locations and offering a minimum of 2,000sq ft of ground floor trading area.
It says: “We are passionate about our public houses and the communities that they serve.
“We ensure that they are refurbished to a very high standard and offer a fantastic drinks selection and audio visual package including the full BT and Sky Sports portfolio.
“We offer leading brands such as John Smiths, Fosters, Kronenbourg, Guinness and Strongbow, the best selling bottled beers and alcopops as well as a great selection of wine and soft drinks.”
The pubco has 120 public houses across the north west, north east, the midlands and Wales.
The new ‘Whitby Road Memories’ booklet by Ellesmere Port Local and Family History Society, reports the building was ’purpose built for the Co-op’ in 1908 with a hall above being added in 1911. ‘Tough competition’ in the country’s high streets led to the Co-op moving out in 1985 with Kwiksave moving in.
Wetherspoon’s refurbishment of the ground floor in 2003 cost £1.2m according to the society.
The Salvation Army separately occupies the first floor of the premises on a let running to 2022 and bookmakers William Hill are in an adjoining unit in the same ownership as the pub with a let until 2019.
Amber also sought to remove conditions on the existing licence and to replace them with its own operating schedule. They also requested approval for entertainment and films Sunday to Thursday 8am to half past midnight with 1am on Fridays and Saturdays along with non standard hours.