The owner of a new bar set to open in Keswick next month has hit back after a town councillor described it as “something you might find on Blackpool front.”
The Crafty Baa has already been turning heads after two clothed figures on a bench were positioned on its roof in Bank Street. Dozens of fake flowers have also been put up along with a sign above the entrance stating: “Nobody gets out sober”.
Owner Vincent Gregg and his son Ben have been transforming the former doctor’s surgery into their second family-run bar after the success of a similar business under the same name in Windermere. They plan to open in Keswick on July 4 after the original launch date in May was delayed because of coronavirus.
But the changes have not gone down well with Cllr Allan Daniels, who criticised the “plastic flowers and now a skeleton and bench on the roof and God knows what else” when the town council discussed planning issues on Thursday night. He claimed that pots had been falling down and he condemned the “sober” sign, saying: “That doesn’t strike me as being a responsible license holder.”
Cllr Daniels is an independent town councillor but a Conservative member of Allerdale Borough Council, which is the local licensing authority. He said he had contacted the local planning authority – the Lake District National Park Authority – and that it had agreed to send a compliance officer to the premises.
“It is certainly not something I would want to see in a conservation area. It looks like something – and without maligning another town – you might find on Blackpool front,” said Cllr Daniels.
Mr Gregg and his wife Lisa have won a string of awards for their Windermere bar since it opened four years ago. Among them was best food establishment in Cumbria at the county’s family business awards.
Mr Gregg, from Windermere, responded to Cllr Daniels’ criticism by saying: “Give us a chance. Keswick Town Council have objected against everything we have done to get to this point and it has cost us time and money.”
The town council had objected to his plan last December before it was approved by the national park authority. Cllr Daniels was among those who felt it was “totally inappropriate” because there were residential properties above and close by.
Mr Gregg continued: “What we are bringing to Keswick is something really different. The outside is not finished. It is all part of the concept of leaving your troubles at the door and come in and have some fun. That is what we are about. It may look a bit weird now but give us a chance and let us get it completed. People are going to love it. Let us finish what we are doing.”
The Crafty Baa’s Keswick premises will have six themed rooms including a gig corner, kitchen and library plus games and driftwood rooms. Mr Gregg and his family are also considering opening further venues in Ambleside and Cockermouth.