Moves made to protect Yate pub the White Lion from future development

May 31 2022
Moves made to protect Yate pub the White Lion from future development

A HISTORIC Yate pub could be formally registered as a community asset to protect it from future development.

The White Lion has just been sold after sitting empty for more than two years.

Estate agents Fleurets have confirmed that the 16th century building on Church Road has been sold after being put on the market for £725,000.

While the new owner is reported to be another pub company, both the agent and previous owner Stonegate declined to give any details when asked by the Voice. No major chain or trade body we approached has been able to conform who the buyer is.

Concerned that the pub could end up in the hands of a developer, Yate Town Council has applied for the pub to be formally registered as an Asset of Community Value with South Gloucestershire Council.

If approved, its status would be recorded at the Land Registry, and the new owner would have to inform South Gloucestershire Council if the pub was to be re-sold. Local organisations would then have six months to raise the funds to buy it.

Town councillor Chris Willmore said they applied for the listing because of concerns the pub could be redeveloped in the future and turned into housing – or have houses built on the car park.

She said: "It is such an important pub and location, and we want to ensure it remains as a community asset.

"It is great news if it has been purchased by another pub chain, who will operate it as a pub and not try to build all over the car park.

"While it has been closed, we kept looking at it and thinking it needs to be kept as a community asset. It links historic Yate with the town centre."  

The ACV listing would not affect the current sale, which is listed by the agents as being subject to contract, but could protect the building in the future. 

Chris said the town council had not heard who the new owner is, but hopes the buyer will keep the car park – and not try to build on it. 

She said: "We know some developers might try to build houses on the land, but we have made the car park part of the listing, as it has been used for the community in the past, for St George’s Day parades and Morris Dancing.”

Fellow town councillor Alan Monaghan said: “It has been trading since 1644 – it is of great historical  importance to the town.

"We have lots of modern housing estates – lots of modern towns have lost all their heritage and what we are trying to do is preserve a sense of history and a sense of being for the town.”

Above: The White Lion in Yate. Top picture: Mike Drew, Alan Monaghan, deputy mayor Ben Nutland, Karl Thomasin, Ruth Davis and Chris Willmore outside the pub. 

Councillor Mike Drew said: “The town council has prides itself on trying to save old buildings and we rescued Poole Court and we rescued what is now the Heritage Centre, which were the stables for the White Lion when it was a coaching inn.” 

Deputy mayor Ben Nutland said “At a time when so many historical buildings are being knocked down or changed beyond recognition, it is incredibly important we protect the history of the town and ensure it for future generations.”

Historic England lists the White Lion as a Grade II listed building, dating back to the late 16th century, and it occupies what was a significant site for the old turnpike road toll system of the 18th and 19th centuries, at a key road junction.

The pub has room for 200 diners inside, and ten guest bedrooms across two floors, and boasts many period features including beamed ceilings and old fireplaces.