Landlady vows to turn around pub once a base for yobs

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ

THE new landlady of a pub once as­so­ci­ated with drug deal­ing and anti-so­cial be­hav­iour has promised a safer and more at­trac­tive venue for Orm­skirk res­i­dents.

Vanessa Mills took over the Queen’s Head dur­ing lock­down and quickly im­ple­mented a host of changes to re­vi­talise the trou­ble-hit pub.

Po­lice had pre­vi­ously raised con­cerns over a group of youths as­so­ci­ated with sell­ing cannabis, car­ry­ing weapons and adopt­ing abu­sive be­hav­iour us­ing the Queen’s Head as a base.

The teenagers were the tar­get of a po­lice op­er­a­tion launched in Fe­bru­ary 2019 and were fre­quently found in­side the pub.

But the Queen’s Head is un­der both new own­er­ship and man­age­ment and Vanessa pledged that it is now a much safer and friend­lier place to visit.

Since re­open­ing post lock­down, it has en­joyed good trade as lo­cals made their re­turn to nights out in the town cen­tre.

Changes in­clude the in­tro­duc­tion of door staff and a dress code as well as an in­ter­nal re­fur­bish­ment.

Vanessa said: “Dur­ing lock­down, the Queen’s Head be­came avail­able and the ten­ant said ‘do you want to run it?’.

“I got the keys in July and we gave it a face lift and lick of paint and cleaned up the gen­eral list of things that needed do­ing for a long time.

“It did have a bad rep­u­ta­tion but the pre­vi­ous land­lord did not fol­low the re­quire­ments like hav­ing door­men.

“It’s not been looked af­ter but I’m try­ing to turn it around.”

As well as ren­o­vat­ing the pub, Vanessa has in­creased staff num­bers and hired door staff to en­sure the pub is safe, while a dress code has been im­ple­mented on week­end nights.

Early feed­back has been pos­i­tive and Vanessa says lo­cals have been turn­ing out in good num­bers.

“It’s been re­ally good. I must ad­mit peo­ple were say­ing we’ve got a lot on our hands be­cause of the bad rep­u­ta­tion it’s had. I was aware of that but also con­fi­dent I could turn it around.

“The cus­tomers have been re­ally good and they haven’t been shout­ing and danc­ing round like some places have.”

Orig­i­nally from Lancashire, Vanessa has worked in the hos­pi­tal­ity trade since the age of 18, tak­ing the oc­ca­sional break to travel across North and South Amer­ica, Canada and Eastern Europe.

Her work has also seen her work as as­sis­tant man­ager in chain restau­rants in Lon­don be­fore she was brought back to the North West to help run pubs in Pre­ston.

Those venues in­clude the Dog and Par­tridge and the Old Black Bull and she in now in sole charge of the Queen’s Head.

Live music and DJ events are set to be­come a fea­ture again and Vanessa hopes that those who have been put off in the past will be will­ing to re­turn.

“The Queen’s Head has had a bad rep­u­ta­tion but we want a fresh chance.

“I’ve heard a lot of peo­ple say ‘I’ve not been in there for years’ but it’s not what it was.”

The pub now has door staff and a dress code, as well as be­ing re­fur­bished in­side

The Queens Head had a rep­u­ta­tion for drug deal­ing and anti-so­cial be­hav­iour un­der pre­vi­ous own­er­ship

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