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Broughton’s Toll Bar Cottage cafe drawing visitors from near and far

Posted on - 17th May, 2023 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Broughton, Charities, Food & Drink, Preston News, Restaurants in Preston, What's On in Preston
The renovated Toll Bar Cottage cafe Pic: LDRS/Broughton Parish Council

A community café and meeting space set up in a Preston village will soon be able to plough its profits into supporting other local grassroots projects.

The Toll Bar Cottage in Broughton served its first customers just over 18 months ago and has proved such a success that it has had to recruit a second manager – and is now appealing for more volunteers to help run it.

The venture – which quickly became famed even beyond the village borders for its menu of breakfasts, sandwiches, pies and cakes – was established by Broughton Parish Council.

Read more: Cottam and Broughton primary schools add extra places

However, the third-tier authority is poised to transfer the facility to a charitable trust, which will enable any money it generates to be funnelled into other community initiatives.

Villagers had called for the creation of a local café and meeting rooms when Broughton drew up its neighbourhood plan back in 2016.

That clamour led to the parish council purchasing the more than 300-year-old cottage building, on Garstang Road, three years later. It had been unoccupied for almost a decade by that time and, having had no permanent resident since the late 1990s, had fallen into a state of disrepair.

How the cottage looked in 2019 Pic: LDRS/Broughton Parish Council

During the depths of the pandemic, the council embarked on a wholesale refurbishment and extension of a building that had acted as a collection point for the turnpike tolls levied on travellers using the road between Preston and Lancaster for 150 years up until the end of the nineteenth century.

The cottage in 1907 Pic: LDRS/Broughton Parish Council

Since the 40-seat café opened in September 2021, the authority says that the facility has gone “from strength to strength”

Two new managers have recently been recruited, splitting responsibility for the café and the meeting area, which is used by a host of local groups and organisations. The venue has also become a focal point for village events, including the Christmas tree lights switch-on.

Now the call has gone out to add to the roll of volunteers who help keep the doors of the cottage open. Anybody interested in finding out more should email: tollbarcottage@broughtonparishcouncil.org.uk

Pat Hastings at the opening of the cafe

Of the shift to charitable status for the café, Broughton Parish Council chair Pat Hastings said: “The parish council has many other exciting projects planned to enhance the village, so has decided to assist in setting up a community charity that will be totally separate from [it and will] run these projects as they are completed.

“The charity will be able to use its funds for other community projects. Currently, the ‘profits’ from the café are used to run [it], as it is still partly lottery funded.

“The parish council [will then be able] to concentrate on its future projects, such as a larger car park and new playground in the King George’s field, [as well as] a new park [and] allotments,” Cllr Hastings added.

Read more: Broughton 51 new homes proposal thrown out

The renovation of the cottage – which has seen a new, modern extension added to the original structure – had an eye on the building’s long history, with the original fireplace being exposed and the toll payment window reopened.

The Toll Bar Cottage has received funding from the National Lottery’s Reaching Communities Fund and has also been supported by some of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) paid by developers who have built houses in the Broughton area. The parish council itself has been contributing a limited amount to the running of the building from its share of the council tax charged to residents.

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