A VILLAGE pub was repossessed after the publican operating the premises failed to pay the rent.

Fences were erected around the boundary of The Judge Walmesley Hotel in Billington last week, as bailiffs plastered repossession notices around the property.

The forfeiture of lease notices which were stuck to the windows and doors of the pub read: “Under the terms and conditions of your lease we, as authorised agents and on behalf of the landlord have re-entered these premises and the lease is hereby determined.

“Any attempt by you or your agents to enter the demised premises will result in criminal proceedings being taken against you.”

A separate order outlining the former lease-holder’s obligation to collect any goods from inside the property, on the edge of Whalley, was also posted.

The notices were issued by Andrew Wilson and Co, a high court enforcement agency that works on behalf of law firms, businesses and property agents to collect outstanding debts and to regain control over properties.

Councillor Mark Hindle, who lives near the pub, said he hopes any new venture on the premises will enable work for people living locally.

He said: “While it is always a shame to see a local business close down, I hope this can be turned around.

“I hope that the landowners, Dunkenhalgh Estate, will consult with residents about the future use of the pub and keep us all involved. Let’s see it really nicely done up, creating jobs for local people with ample parking for all of those visiting. We want this to be somewhere we can be really proud of and something that will enhances Whalley rather than detract from it.

“If in the interim they could show some good spirit towards the village and let us use the car park, that could be hugely beneficial.”

His fellow Councillor Ged Mirfin added: “This is a much loved village pub which has seen better days. I know that a number of prominent local business people are interested in taking on the lease or purchasing the building and investing some money into the place and turning it into a gastro pub, restaurant or proper real ale pub to compete as it once did with the other pubs in Whalley.”