The White Lion at St Leonards opens its doors on July 20th after a long fight over 7 years...sound familiar.
We have just been brought up to date by the Chilterns Society that the White Lion at St Leonards in Buckinghamshire is to reopen under community ownership on July 20th.
The group write---
Dear Friend of the White Lion, THE WHITE LION ROARS BACK BIGGER AND EVEN MORE BEAUTIFUL
Seven years of hurt, but we never stopped the dreaming. Now our beloved pub is finally coming home.
On Tuesday July 20 the White Lion will open its doors again bigger and even more beautiful than before following a no expense spared refurbishment by owner Mandy Grinwood. Now it is all set to take its place once again as a centre of village life.
It has been a seven year battle to reach this point from the time Punch Taverns sold it to property speculators who closed the pub intending to turn it into a house. Following a long but ultimately successful fight by the local community to stop that happening, Mandy bought it ready to restore and extend before re-opening it as the traditional village local it had been before.
Mandy wanted to retain the character of the building and when you enter its doors you will find the pub very much as you remembered it – but lighter, more spacious and spruced up with French doors to the rear courtyard and beams sanded and lightened -- ready for you to bash your head on just as before!
Much of the extensive and expensive restoration work is unseen on the roof supports and fabric of the building. But you will be struck by the spaciousness of the trading area with the relocation of the gents loos allowing an extension to be built at the rear. The bar has been pushed back with the beer now stored in the outbuildings rather than the cellar underneath the old bar area. It means more space for dining and an end to the old bottle neck (pun intended) at the bar.
Elsewhere, the kitchen and prep areas have been completely refurbished as has the customer wash rooms and upstairs accommodation. Meanwhile no doubt many will already have noticed that the gardens have been landscaped, lighting installed and new furniture purchased. The car park has been extended and resurfaced.
Mandy has appointed pub manager James and chef Carlos and is currently recruiting further kitchen and front of house staff. She plans to serve a good quality summer menu with a Mediterranean influence, three cask ales and a selection of wines by the glass. She will no doubt be detailing and publicising these plans and her trading times etc in the lead up to opening day. You will be able to find out more on the pub's website www.whitelion.pub, which is currently being developed ready for the opening, and on its Facebook and Instagram accounts .
So our congratulations to our friends at The White Lion St Leonards, it shows that concerted local action can put their pub back at the heart of the communuty.