Plans to breathe new life into the Dock and Duck pub in Houghton Regis have been submitted to Central Beds Council by its new, locally-renowned owner.
Prominent Houghton businessman Kishor Patel wishes to build two kitchen facilities and a new bar in the existing premises in Parkside Drive.
He has also submitted an application to build six residential dwellings in part of the pub’s large car park, although this is not part of plans in the near future.
Award-winning Mr Patel owns a number of businesses in the surrounding areas including the Nisa store in Hillborough Crescent, and recently acquired the Dog and Duck from its previous owners.
He would like to utilise the largely-unused land surrounding the pub without compromising the pub itself or selling off the land.
He told the Gazette: “We’ve been trading near the pub since 1998 and I’ve never seen the car park full.”
“We are not getting rid of the pub in any way, shape or form – we want it to be a food-slash-bar venue rather than a bar-slash-pub venue.
“There’s a pub in Toddington that was sold and I believe they are completely converting that into housing – local residents are concerned they will be losing a historic building.
“It’s a shame. We will not be doing that.
“We want to provide the amenity of a good social bar as well as making it commercially viable.
“It makes more sense financially (to apply for permission to build residential dwellings) – gives us more added value. There is a lot of space, and a lot of excess, surplus land is getting sold elsewhere.
“It’s undecided whether we will run it ourselves or lease it out, but we will make sure we get the right people in to work with.
“There is a lot of work to be done on the inside.”
“Once the application is approved and builders are appointed we would like to start work in October or November. There are no immediate plans for the residencies – we will see how it goes with the pub.”
A spokesman for Central Beds Council told the Gazette that they do not ordinarily comment on individual planning applications, but said that when a decision has been made it will be published on their website.
Planning applications can be viewed at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/planning/planning-applications/default.aspx.