A PUB that was on the brink of closure before being deemed a ‘community asset’ is looking to expand.

Residents near the Hare and Hounds in Lammack Road, Blackburn, started a petition to save their local when Enterprise Inns announced plans to sell it last year.

The pub was successfully registered as an ‘asset of community value’ after an application was sent to the council – in part because it was the last surviving former Duttons Brewery establishment in the country.

Ian Robertson, a local for 30 years, bought the pub – his first foray into the industry – and it is thriving.

Mr Robertson has now submitted plans for a £200,000 expansion, including a new kitchen, lounge area, side entrance, plus an upstairs bar.

He said: “It has been fabulous and it is much better than we could have hoped for.

“Because it is a free house the prices are low and we have refurbished it. It is a lovely building and the regulars are great.

“One of the problems before was that it was tied to Enterprise Inns, so as a manager you don’t get any freedom.

“Now I have that freedom to do what I want and to make it very personal.”

Mr Robertson has introduced handpump cask ales, and themed nights.

Beardwood Coun Michael Lee joined the fight to save the pub last year, lamenting the previous owners.

He said: “Most of their pubs are struggling and yet we have got a man in there who has been able to buy beer at a reasonable price, sell it at a good price and create a good atmosphere and it is going from strength to strength. It is really good that the community is getting behind him.”