Halfway House pub in Chorley forced to close after travellers pitch up on car park
The popular Halfway House pub and restaurant, on Preston Road, will remain closed 'until further notice' after caravans began pitching up on the venue's car park.
More than half a dozen caravans parked up on the car park to the Halfway House pub and hotel in Chorley yesterday morning, August 12.
And after a challenging year of closures due to Covid-19, manager Richard Tarran has made the decision to keep the business closed 'until further notice', as groups of travellers remain parked up on his premises.
The news was met with outrage on social media, with local people calling on the police and Chorley council to do more to help after the caravans pitched up on the private land.
Manager Richard said: "They just turned up yesterday morning out of the blue completely unannounced and it seems there is not much that can be done about it.
"I called the police and the council straight away but the laws of the land mean they don't have powers to move them off so it feels like our hands are completely tied.
"This has caused so many problems for us as we can't reopen our business. This will affect our trade and it means my staff can't get paid, which is just so unfair.
"The mess they have been causing would have just put customers off so staying open was not an option. A lot of people would not have wanted to have come to us and it would have caused more concerns if the travellers began to come into my business."
It is understood the group of travellers are thought to be on their way to the annual Appleby Festival, held in Cumbria, with manager Richard believing they hope to be there 'for at least a week'.
But he now plans to use his own money to instruct the private removal of the caravans on his private land in a bid to get his business back up and running again, with thousands of pounds in profits being lost.
Richard added: "I have already had to close because of the 'pingdemic' and large numbers of my staff being told to isolate. We had to shut for five days a few weeks ago because more and more staff were being pinged by the Track and Trace app and are only just finding our feet again.
"With what has gone on this past year, businesses in hospitality have been hard hit as it is and just as we begin to get back on track, this happens and now I have 25 members of staff asking when they will be getting paid.
"It is frustrating that people can just come on to my property uninvited and nothing can be done. I believe they have now gained access to the back garden at the pub, which was locked with a gate, and have been running riot and smashing things up.
"All this will then come at another cost to clean up when they have eventually moved along. This just impacts everyone down the chain, my business can't open, I can't pay the bills and I can't pay my staff."
Lancashire Police confirmed it has received reports of the situation and is continuing to monitor it as the caravans remain on the pub car park.
Chorley Council has been contacted for a comment.