WORK is set to begin on stripping out a former town centre pub ahead of demolition later this year.

Social impact property developers BEC have announced work is due to begin on stripping out the inside of the former John Paul Jones public house on Duke Street, Whitehaven.

The John-Paul Jones, which shares its name with the illustrious Naval Commander who launched a surprise attack on the town back in 1778, closed its doors to the public in June 2018.

BEC acquired the building from owners, Riverside Community Pubs in July 2019 as part of land assembly work that included the adjacent Mark House and Park Night Club sites which BEC acquired in 2017. 

BEC have plans to develop the overall site, which is 0.70 acres in total as a hotel, residential and leisure destination for the town.

Steve Holland, Head of Developments at BEC, said: “The opportunity to acquire the John-Paul Jones site meant we could complete the land assembly; tidying up the site enables us to create a gateway development that reflects the history and heritage of the iconic harbour area, retaining and showcasing the historic features of the former Turkish Baths and Cupola.

“We are in ongoing discussions with local planners and interested parties about the redevelopment of the various sites we own in Whitehaven.”

Bill Graham, Head of Investments at BEC, added: “Having terminated the services to the building, we are now able to progress the strip out works which will begin soon, with demolition expected later in the year subject to discussions with planners.

“The strip out will involve removing the bar and remaining fixtures and fittings. We’ve awarded the work to local contractor, Westlakes Demolition.”

Work will begin on site late June and is expected to take 4-5 days in total.