white lion pub in hankelow

Work is underway to renovate a pub and bring it back to life in a Nantwich village, marking a four year battle to save the community asset.

The White Lion in Hankelow has been taken over by members of the community after it closed its doors four years ago and looked set to be demolished for housing.

But villagers rallied around to oppose the plans, and despite Cheshire East originally refusing the plan the owner won an appeal in June 2017.

That’s when the local action group took another approach – and forming The White Lion Community Pub
(Hankelow) Limited, residents raised a staggering £380,000 and bought the building and land in September 2018.

The community pub company has 30+ shareholders, drawn mainly from the village and local area, who between them own almost 400,000 £1 shares.

In total, around £500,000 has been raised and this includes £150,000 from the sale of part of the site to Memory Lane Classics (MLC), a locally based company whose main business is the restoration of classic cars.

MLC intends to build a small car showroom on the land next to the pub and they are also investors in the pub company.

It represents an exciting joint venture where both enterprises will work together for mutual benefit, by attracting interest and custom.

Since planning approval was obtained for the re-opening of the pub last summer, renovation work has started.

white lion pub in hankelow

A company spokesperson said: “This is a complicated and expensive task, which reflects the fact that the building has been closed for four years and largely neglected for a decade before that.

“A new water treatment and drainage system has been installed on the site and major structural work to the building is underway.

“Our fundraising efforts are continuing as we aim to raise a further £150,000 to complete the refurbishment of the building.

“The main aim has always been to re-open the pub at the earliest date and restore to Hankelow its “asset of community value” providing a community hub for the village with all the social benefits that this will bring (not to ignore the increase in house values that a village pub brings!)”

How Hankelow’s residents have clubbed together is being replicated up and down the country as many rural community pubs which face closure.

According to CAMRA, 120+ such pubs have opened in villages in the last 10 years and to date none have failed.

The spokesperson added: “The renovated pub has been designed to enable community use of the building during the day outside normal pub hours.

“It will operate as a free house.

“The Company will set the overall operational guidelines for the landlord to follow, which will reflect local priorities and not those of a brewery chain.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about the project can visit www.whitelionhankelow.com

And if anyone wishes to contribute to the project they can get in touch via the website or by using the contact details attached.

2 Comments

  1. Excellent. Is there a forecast timeline for the reopening date?

  2. Great news. Well done!

    Look forward to visiting the White Lion again when it’s up and running.

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