Northcote Group to increase hotel size and grow Ribble Valley Inns following investment

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Lancashire

Nigel Haworth and Craig Bancroft, who welcome the Matthewmans to the business after running it in partnership for the last 28 years
Nigel Haworth and Craig Bancroft, who welcome the Matthewmans to the business after running it in partnership for the last 28 years
The Northcote Group is to add up to eight more pubs to its Ribble Valley Inns estate and increase the size of its flagship hotel and restaurant Northcote following investment from ex-Blackburn Rovers director Richard Matthewman and his wife Lynda. 

The group's joint managing directors Nigel Haworth and Craig Bancroft revealed plans for expansion after announcing that the couple, who have been customers of Northcote for the last 25 years, had taken a 'substantial' equity interest in the company which they formed together in 1984. 

Bancroft told BigHospitality the group had been looking to expand and improve facilities for a while, but had been unable to secure funding, so was pleased to finally be able to move forward. 

"We have been wanting to grow for some time," he said. "It's not been an easy time for anybody. Barclay's has been extremely supportive, but couldn't lend for expansion on the scale we wanted it and the banks just haven't been able to fund those kind of plans, so the only way to do it has been to find a willing private investor." 

The company's operations will not change much following the move - Bancroft and Haworth will continue in their current roles, however, Richard Matthewman will become chairman of the board and is expected to have a strong presence there. 

Bancroft said: "Richard will be a key part of helping us to develop the hotel and Lynda will have some input in the creation of the new bedrooms. They are worldwide travellers so they know exactly what they want from a hotel, but they are also aware it's also a business venture and not a lifestyle venture." 


Under the plans, the 14-bedroom Northcote hotel will increase its size to 24 bedrooms and a new kitchen will be installed at its four AA rosette restaurant which it said would help it 'remain at the forefront of the industry' and provide a better working environment for staff who work under head chef Lisa Allen. 

Improvements to the grounds of the property, set on the edge of the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, will also be made and its private dining room The Louis Roederer Room will be made larger. 

The hotel is expected to remain open while improvements are made slowly and will be 'carefully planned' so as to 'minimise the impact on the current operation,' the company said. 

Pub expansion

Northcote is also looking to grow the number of pubs it operates under its Ribble Valley Inns brand. The company, established in 2004, currently owns and operates four pubs - The Three Fishes at Mitton, The Highwayman at Burrow, The Clog and Billycock at Pleasington and The Bull at Broughton. 

Bancroft said the aim was to open eight new pubs in the next five years. They would be located predominantly in the North West, but could spread outside of the group's Lancashire base if the opportunity was right. 

"We may travel a bit further," he said. "We would love to be in Cheshire and we would look at Cumbria if the right property came up, but they would need to be geographically right for the company and the deals would have to be right." 

The company's outside catering operation at Blackburn Rovers - Northcote at The Rovers - which has been in operation for the last 11 years, will also remain a crucial part of the business, Haworth and Bancroft confirmed. 

"This committed investment is fantastic news for each and everyone involved in The Northcote Group; all our dedicated staff, loyal customers and trusted suppliers alike," they said. 

Northcote is looking for a sous chef to join Nigel Haworth in the kitchen. For more details and to apply for the job visit​ or click here​.

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1 comment

Wonderful news!

Posted by Lynne Mollloy,

What we need now is Nigel to look at Lancaster as part of castle development, dreams come true for customer base here!

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