You can give your dog a pint at this Lancashire pub

“And one for the dog, please”.

You might think you’re going barking mad if you hear that in a Leyland pub shortly.

But the Withy Arms has found a paw-fect way for dog owners and their pets to relax together at the popular Worden Lane local. They’re about to start selling dog beer. Bottles of Belgium-made Snuffle Dog Beer – in both chicken and beef flavour – are due in anytime now just for ‘man’s best friend’. And if the hounds overindulge it will never lead to the animal-linked phrase “as drunk as a dog” or some others – involving skunks, monkeys, newts and rats – for it’s alcohol free. Landlord Lee Forshaw (pictured) explained: “We about to start selling dog beer. It’s called Snuffle Dog Beer in beef and chicken flavour. “I was in York, I was outside a pet shop and it sold dog beer. “It’s imported from Belgium. It’s non-alcoholic because dogs are under-age Not many dogs live to 18. ID won’t be required!” He added: “You can come in and have a pint and your dog can come and have a beer, too. Lee said he expected it to prove popular at the Withy Arms. “Yes, it’s a very, very dog-friendly pub. And of course, we’re the first pub next to Worden Park. “Generally, at around 5pm to 6pm you can find probably 15 dogs in there …with their owners, of course. “We already provide dog treats in the pub. I think it will go down really well. “It’s good for them as well, it’s got vitamin B in it.”

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New chapter is opening as pubs launch libraries

Manager Withy Arms Bamber Bridge

Ben Edwards – Area Manager – Withy Arms Group –

A pint and a paperback . . .

a pub group has stepped in following local library closures to offer bookworms a place to visit.

The initiative has come from pub operators the Withy Arms Group, which has pubs in Leyland and Bamber Bridge. Ben Edwards, area manager of the group, has set up a book exchange within the Withy Arms, Station Road, Bamber Bridge, to help to those affected by the closures. And the Withy Arm, Worden Lane, Leyland, is set to follow suit soon. Ben said: “We have been approached by a large group of about twenty five bookworms who have lost their home due to the library closing at Bamber Bridge. “We now open our pub at Bamber Bridge every month to facilitate their meetings and we wanted to help further, so I decided to bring in a book exchange in the corner of the pub. It has been greatly received. I think it’s important for community pubs to help to provide some type of facilities when the council lets down the local community by closing the library.” Lee Forshaw, of the Withy Arms, Leyland, said: “Because of the success in Bamber Bridge we will be rolling our book exchange idea out to the Leyland pub in the coming weeks. So you be able to read a book have a pint in the best beer garden in Leyland and enjoy life. We are just looking at buying some more book shelves for the Leyland pub.” Lancashire County Council announced last year it was closing a whole host of libraries after it was hit with severe funding cuts, although the newly elected Tory administration says it plans to halt the cuts.

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Pub boss left with bitter taste over ‘unjust’ rates

withy arms leyland

Lee Forshaw who runs the Withy Arms, Leyland, has made a new pump clip called £331 a week business rate’ with a picture of the mayor on it, protesting against the cost of Business Rate charges. Picture by Paul Heyes, Thursday May 04, 2017.

Lee Forshaw, director of the Withy Arms Group Limited, described the system as unjust. And to show his disapproval he has put a beer on the bar called ‘£331’. He says the figure shown on the pump clip is just over what the pub pays in business rates each week. Mr Forshaw said: “The rates payable at the Withy Arms at Leyland have, we feel, always been disproportionate and even now the new rateable values have been released, we are still paying just over £331 every week. “That’s equivalent to the total income from the sales of over 150 pints of WA bitter every week straight to the local council. This is the amount we have to pay every week before we even open our doors on Monday morning. That can’t be right, can it?” “We are aware of other restaurants and pubs in Leyland who are being crippled by these ridiculously high business rates. “The system is very unfair and the council has to ask itself why so many empty shops are around and why a lot of pubs do not have any long term landlords. “To highlight this issue and the plight of many other small business in Leyland, and elsewhere, we have commissioned a beer called £331. It’s a 3.31 per cent abv strength and will be on the bar from today.”

Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, councillor Peter Mullineaux, said: “All business rates are set by central government and then collected by local authorities on their behalf. “Following a re-valuation of rateable values right across the country, businesses in South Ribble are in fact set to save an average of 10 per cent when compared to the previous financial year, although the re-valuation will affect each business differently. “A Government scheme has been announced to help assist pubs by offering a reduction in their business rates for the current year. “As a council, we are currently awaiting the full details about that scheme, but we are eager to support local businesses and are happy to help Mr Forshaw if he would like any further advice.”

Massive changes to business rates were brought in earlier this year and the full effects are now being felt by firms across Lancashire. For many the overhaul has meant a reduction in rates but for others huge rises have left their businesses vulnerable to closure. Derek Bolton, who has run Bluebell Liveries in rural Lancashire for the past quarter of a century, is one of the many businesses across the county to be hit hard by the shake up. The overhaul of commercial tax charges, which were introduced in April, has seen his rates skyrocket more than 1,000 percent. Business rates are based on the value of the property a business is located in – not how much profit the firm makes.

The overhaul, which was introduced on April 1, sets rates according to the value of the premises in 2015. Derek, who runs Bluebell Liveries in Heapey, near Chorley, now has to fork out £8,250 annually – up from just £564 the previous year. He says the changes could see his business, which is also a stud yard, go down the pan. “Its a serious life-changing situation,” said Derek, who is the full time carer of his 85 year old mother who has advanced Dementia. “Some idiot in Whitehall has just thought ‘oh let’s slap it on’. “I can’t get my head round how they think. “Its outrageous, my business can’t afford that. It will bankrupt me.” Derek, 54, who has owned his livery yard in Trigg Lane for the last 23 years has been eligible for small business rates relief in the past. It was also eligible for rural rates relief. In the changes that the chancellor announced in the budget last year, which came into force as of April this year, Derek’s livery and stud yard was no longer eligible for the relief. With the flick of a switch, the rateable value of Derek’s property has gone from £7,000 to £22,369. “It wipes out all my profit,” said Derek. “I work seven days a week, 12 hours a day. “I will have to close so I will lose all my credit to the bank.” “The value of my property has plummeted and a business like Amazon has just had its rates reduced.” In 2014 Derek had a difficult year business-wise and his income amounted to just over £10,000. He has to shower and cook in his mother’s house because his shower flooded last year leaving a hole in his ceiling and his cooker does not work properly. He also has no hot running water because he needs a new boiler. Although he is eligible for transitional relief for the first year and there is a cap on his payments for two months, Derek still says ultimately his business will not be able to absorb the costs. He is not the only owner of a livery yard who has seen their business rates hiked since April. Dave and Janet Berry will have to pay 69 per cent more for their yard, Chorley Equestrian Centre in Chapel Lane, Heapey. They are also saying that the rates could mean they shut up shop. “For us it could put us out of business,” said Dave. “It’s our place, we’ve been here 32 years. We built it up from nothing.” Recognising the role local pubs play in communities, a £1,000 discount has been made available during 2017 for pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 – 90 per cent of all pubs. But many publicans say it is too little too late. One director of a pub group in Leyland has even created a beer to draw attention what he sees as “disproportionate” business rates. Lee Forshaw, director of the Withy Arms Group Limited has commissioned a beer called £331 – the amount he has to pay in business rates every week. He said: “The rates payable at the Withy Arms at Leyland have, we feel, always been disproportionate and even now the new rateable values have been released, we are still paying just over £331 every week. That’s equivalent to the total income from the sales of over 150 pints of WA bitter every week straight to the local council. “This is the amount we have to pay every week before we even open our doors on Monday morning. “That can’t be right, can it?” Last month, long serving landlord Ivan Lynas, 56, who runs the Imperial in Chorley, cited spiralling business rates as one of the main reasons he is leaving the trade. Ivan, who was well-known as licensee at the former Harry’s Bar in Chorley, said: “The landscape has changed. “I applied to the council for hardship rel ief. After eight weeks they responded and said I didn’t qualify. “It was just to help me out. If I’d got that, I’d still be trading.” Business rates are a tax paid by a business owner on any commercial property they own or rent. In some cases this is even on properties which are empty. In the same way that residents pay council tax, businesses have to pay business rates. Businessmen and women receive their rates bill from their local council. l How are business rates decided? Business rates are linked to the property market – so rates are tied to rents. This means that if property prices go up in one area, so will business rates and similarly if property prices drop, business rates will follow suit. The size of a property also affects a firm’s business rates. So for example a cafe on a high street which has a big floor space might have to pay more in rates than an app developer who is making money but does not occupy an office space. Rateable value is set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) which is part of the Inland Revenue. Rateable value is decided by Inland Revenue’s estimate of the property’s rental value which is decided during a revaluation. l Why have business rates changed now? The 2017 rating revaluation, or overhaul of rates, came into effect as of April 1. It is the first revaluation since April 1, 2010 and is based at the rateable value of properties as of April 1, 2015. A revaluation is meant to take place every five years so the increase in business rates should have happened two years ago. However, it was delayed by the Government to avoid businesses being hit by a sharp increase ahead of the 2015 General Election. This is why the hikes in rates now are more dramatic than otherwise. The purpose of the revaluation is to re-aline rateable values with rental decline or growth since 2008. l How does the calculation work? Business rates are calculated by multiplying the rateable value of your non-domestic property by the correct multiplier (also known as the UBR or rate in the pound) set by the Government.  The rateable value is based on the rental value of the property. The multiplier is increased each year by the September RPI rate of inflation to ensure that the Government consistently collects the same amount of money each year in real terms.



brexit clip

Following the huge amount of discussion about the forthcoming Referendum by customers and staff within the pubs within the Withy Arms Group, the Pubco has had brewed a real ale called Brexit to stimulate more conversation and maybe to help people make an educated decision.

The beer goes on sale at both Bamber Bridge pubs and in the Withy Arms Leyland on Friday 10th June 2016.

CEO Lee Forshaw says, “The company itself remains impartial but we did a staff straw poll of 49 of the team regarding naming the beer either ‘Remain’ or ‘Brexit’ and ‘Brexit’ came out on top. I will be voting for a Brexit also and I have commissioned a real ale in celebration of our independence day!”.

Local MP Nigel Evans, whose Ribble Valley constituency includes Bamber Bridge where some of the Pubs are based said, ‘As President of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group and a Brexiteer I’m delighted that brewers have such common sense. I hope beer lovers and those wishing to Leave the EU will unite in supporting the cause and enjoying a great pint into the bargain’.

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