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Friday, 03 July 2015

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After delays and cost hikes, work on pub to start at last

The long-awaited revamp of a former tourist attraction is finally underway.

The Ship Inn, on Piel Island, one of Furness’ most famous landmarks, shut more than two years ago.

However, yesterday, the council confirmed that contractors had finally begun the work.

Phil Huck, the council’s regeneration director, told the Evening Mail: “We’re delighted it’s started and we look forward to completing the whole refurbishment.”

The work involves weather-proofing the battered building through re-roofing, re-rendering and fitting new windows and doors.

It is costing about £270,000 and is expected to be finished in around four months.

The next stage of the revamp involves renovating the interior and is estimated to cost about £350,000.

But the start of that phase is dependant on the council getting the cash required to pay for it.

Mr Huck said: “We’ve got several opportunities for funding which we’re pursuing at the moment.”

Mr Huck said he still didn’t know when the Ship would reopen. And, explaining the delay, he said: “The reason it took as along as it did to get going was because we were unaware of the condition of the building.”

Steve Chattaway was picked by a council panel as the new King of Piel in May last year.

Mr Chattaway and his wife Sheila told the Evening Mail earlier this year they understood the work needed to be done properly and said: “It’s not like any other kind of pub.”

The refurbishment of the Ship Inn is seen as a vital boost to Barrow’s tourism industry.

Piel Island, donated to the people of Barrow in 1920 by the Duke of Buccleuch, has recently become a popular location for filming. In April, a 12-strong film crew invaded Piel Island, using the island as a backdrop for drama This Old Dog, featuring BBC actor and star of Waterloo Road Philip Martin Brown.

The Bbc’s Countryfile programme, presented by John Craven, filmed on Piel last month, for a feature on rural living.