Regulars were heartbroken by the decision to allow the demolition
An 18th century Preston pub which has stood in the city for more than 170 years has been demolished to make way for a new petrol station.
In a sign of the changing demands, the last pint was poured at the Saddle Inn in Lea earlier this year as regulars were forced to say goodbye to a place where they had spent many hours and formed lasting relationships. Demolition crews moved on to the site earlier this month and nothing but rubble and empty space now sits on the land which had been home to the pub since 1786.
In 2021, the day for the Euro 202 final, a bar brawl at the Saddle Inn led to a bloody shooting which last week saw two men jailed. Paul Matheson, 39 and Daniel Quinn, 30, claimed they were police officers when they shot Jamie Robinson through the front door of his mother’s home with with a 9mm handgun.
Matheson and Robinson had been involved in a fight in the pub hours earlier. The former had been humiliated when he took ‘a pasting’ during the televised football match.
In The Saddle Inn’s place, Blackburn’s billionaire Issa brothers will build another of their Euro Garage forecourts with a filling station, store and drive-through coffee shop. The development will form part of a service station area for the £200m Preston Western Distributor Road linking the M55 to the A583.
According to a heritage report submitted with the planning application, it is “possible that the buildings at The Saddle Inn began as a farm with a room in use as an alehouse but were more formally converted to an inn by the early 1840s”. For more than a century and a half, it served the village’s community but its doors were closed for the final time after that planning permission was granted.
Speaking last year, Saddle Inn regular Jackie Helm, 52, said she would be “devastated” if the plans went ahead. Jackie, who has been visiting the pub since her late teens, said: “It’s used by all the community and all these new houses they’ve built down the road, the parents bring the children up, they’re playing on the play area and they’re having their meals.
She added: “She added: “It’s a historic building, there’s nothing at all wrong with it and it’s just heart-breaking. We all socialise, everyone is friendly and new people come in and they’re all welcomed.
“I’ll be devastated, absolutely devastated we don’t need another garage up here- we don’t need a drive-thru coffee shop and a garage. They’re destroying the community before people have moved in. It means the world to everybody and every single person will be backing it.”
Despite the concerns, Preston City Council granted permission on the basis that there are enough other pubs nearby for the loss to be acceptable. That loss can now be fully seen with after crews tore the building down in recent weeks.
- 14:50, 23 OCT 2022