Leyland Pub at loggerheads with council over wood burner

Lee Forshaw

Fight: Lee Forshaw from the Withy Arms in Leyland

Bosses at a popular pub are at loggerheads with the council after being told to stop using their log burning fire.

 The Withy Arms in Worden Lane, Leyland, is in a smoke free zone and, because the pub’s burners don’t meet the necessary standard, they have to stop using them.

Operations director Lee Forshaw said the council told the venue it needs to have Defra approved appliances that only burn smokeless fuel.

Mr Forshaw said: “I think we are being singled out by the council for some reason, I don’t understand why.

“The customers love it, they love that it is warm and welcoming.

“We’ve not had any complaints from anybody.

“The log fires are part of what makes the Withy Arms so popular.

“The building is in a conservation area. There would have been no gas fires. They were all log burning fires.

“They are kind of conflicting themselves.

“In the meantime I am going to continue to light the fires.

“The council just seems to be attacking a popular pub. If we can’t have one, then every house that has a log fire in South Ribble can’t have one. It’s looking like one rule for one and one rule for another.”

Mr Forshaw said the pub will replace all the fires but, at the moment, they will continue lighting them.

South Ribble Council said it had initially been called over an issue to do with concerns over the storage of waste, but the owner denied this was the case.

Coun Phil Smith, cabinet member with responsibility for regeneration, leisure and healthy communities, added: “While we were visiting the premises, we noticed smoke coming from a chimney.

“We informed the owner about his responsibilities around the types of stove and fuels he could use, and told him we will continue to monitor the situation to ensure he is complying.

“We take our legal responsibilities to protect the health of the public very seriously. We can take enforcement action if necessary, although we always try to resolve such issues, as we have done in this case, by talking to people first.”

Further information. We found replacement DEFRA approved fires at West Country Fires

Source Lancashire Evening Post – Laura Wild


Restaurant review – Withy Arms, Leyland

Mayor of South Ribble

The mayor of South Ribble, Coun Dorothy Gardner, pours her first pint at the opening of the new Withy Arms pub in Leyland. She is with her consort, Coun Melvyn Gardner, manager of the pub, James Harding, and councillor for the Leyland St Mary’s ward, Coun Phil Hamman.

The new Withy Arms pub in Leyland has only been open since just before Christmas, and already I’ve heard loads of great things about it.

 A tough stance on ‘no swearing’ and ‘no sportswear’, combined with an emphasis on family dining at the newly refurbished pub seems to be paying off.

Our party of five visited on a Sunday afternoon for an early tea, and it’s lucky we booked a table, because the rest were near enough full!

We’d actually only booked for four people, but the staff were more than happy to add on a small table to make sure there was enough room for everyone, so we were off to a good start.

I was impressed with the décor too, and the bar area was bright and showed off all of the drinks on offer, from lagers and guest ales, to spirits, wines and soft drinks.

I hadn’t visited the place much when it was the Roebuck, but I’d say the transformation is a much-welcomed improvement.

And so on to the food…

We went for two sharing platters for the table (£7.25 each), which included sticky ribs which fell off the bone, deliciously crispy chicken wings, breaded juicy scampi, breaded garlic mushrooms, Withy Ale beer battered onion rings, and garlic bread with salad and a selection of dips – barbecue, tomato and sweet chili.

It was all very good, and perfect for someone who was particularly hungry (me!)

The only thing I wasn’t really wowed by was the onion rings, as they weren’t as crispy as I’d normally like, but there was hardly any room for complaints.

For the main courses, there was plenty on offer, from pub classics like burgers, steaks and pies, to specials such as mushroom risotto and Hunter’s chicken.

I went for the lamb shank from the specials’ board, which turned out to be well worth the £9.50 it cost.

It was a succulent piece of lamb with plenty of meat falling off the bone, served on top of tasty mustard mashed potato with gravy.

It also came with a tray of vegetables, which included carrots, peas and cabbage, which were also very nice and fresh.

It was one of the best meals I’ve had in a while actually, especially at a pub.

Other mains for our table were fish and chips at £6.95 (a massive piece of fish, which I tried a bit of, and can agree it was excellent), two portions of scampi and chips (£7.45 each), and a chicken burger with chips (£7.95) plus a side order of onion rings (which turned out to be a better batch than we got with the starter; much more crispy).

Everyone had high praise for the food. They said the chips were a bit dry, but other than that, the food was excellent, and we got plenty of sauces for the table anyway.

It’s fair to say we were all stuffed afterwards, and very satisfied.

One of our party finished the meal off with a latte which she enjoyed, but the rest of us could only look at the dessert menu and wish we had room to try some.

Sticky toffee pudding, jam roly poly, and cheese and biscuits were some of the options available.

Another point I’d like to make is how attentive and friendly the staff were.

The bill came to around £60 with drinks, which I thought was very reasonable for a party of five.

There are also ‘light bites’ such as sandwiches, and a Sunday Lunch menu, so I’d highly recommend a visit.

Factfile –

Name: Withy Arms

Address: Worden Lane, Leyland – near the Leyland Cross where Fox Lane meets Church Road and Worden Lane

Contact: 01772 301969 or www.withyarms.com

Opening hours: Food served midday to 8pm every day


by Kay Taylor

Pub owner hopes popularity wins over council planners

A Leyland pub owner who carried out a major refurbishment without planning permission is hoping the public’s positive responses will sway the council to grant him retrospective approval.

The former Roebuck on Worden Lane, near the Leyland Cross, was taken over by Lee Forshaw and Alan Burdett, who own the Withy Arms in Bamber Bridge, after a five-month closure in December.

Work has been done to create a new look at the pub, which is now also called the Withy Arms, including paint-work, a bigger kitchen and an outside dining area.

Mr Forshaw acknowledges he has broken planning regulations in doing the work in the conservation area before getting permission, but says he only did it in the hope of getting backing from the public and the council.

“I think they can sometimes have a ‘no’ policy at the council,” he said. “I wanted to extend the Withy Arms in Bamber Bridge but they wouldn’t allow me, so I’ve done it this way round in Leyland.

“People can see how nice it is for the community, and how good it is for the local economy. It’s much better than it would have come across on paper. Things are going exceptionally well at the Leyland pub and we’ve got a lot of support from the public.

“There have been some really positive comments on the TripAdvisor website.

“It’s very busy and it’s very much a community pub, which is what we wanted, so I think the council will see that it’s a good thing for the area.”

He has now submitted a retrospective planning application to South Ribble Council, and a decision is set to be made at a delegated level by council planning officers.

The planning documents state: “Ribble Brewery Ltd have purchased the Roebuck with a view to change the theme of the pub from a music drinking venue to a family friendly dining public house.

“They plan to renovate the interior of the pub to bring it in line with the high specifications of their other venues.

“The front elevation is to be given a facelift with new signage to reflect the change in name to the Withy Arms.

“A larger kitchen will be created to serve a good choice of food to customers; a flue for extraction purposes at the rear of the pub will be provided.

“The rear of the pub will be rendered and painted to match the front.

“The raised seating area will be renovated to provide booth seating for diners.”

Source Lancashire Evening Post