New fears for future of Yate pub the White Lion

July 28 2022
New fears for future of Yate pub the White Lion

TOWN councillors fear Yate's historic White Lion pub site could be redeveloped for flats.

The councillors have been holding talks with the prospective new buyer of the pub in Church Road.  

The White Lion has been a pub since 1644 and is a Grade II listed building, which means it has some protection under planning rules, but there are concerns the car parks around it could be prime sites for new flats.

It had been under offer from a pub chain, after sitting empty for more than two years.

But that sale fell through, and a property development company has stepped in.

The pub had been on the market for £725,000.

Town councillor Chris Willmore said: "We are really worried.

“The White Lion is protected by being a listed building, but the setting is important to that listing, and the car park is well used by parents dropping children to nearby St Mary’s Primary School, and people parking for the town centre and the Heritage Centre.

“We are doing our best to protect the Heritage Centre and White Lion for our community and are talking with potential purchasers to try to get a solution for the community.”

In a further blow, South Gloucestershire Council rejected an application by Yate Town Council to have the White Lion listed as an Asset of Community Value. 

That would have meant any future sale would have to be notified to the public, and the town council would then have the option to bid on the open market for the property.

Cllr Willmore said: "An ACV is not a magic bullet but at least we would have the chance to buy it to keep it safe. 

"The Town Council could then sell the pub building to someone who wants to run it as a pub, and keep the car parks to prevent anyone building on them."

In a letter to the town council, South Gloucestershire said it rejected the application because there had not been enough evidence of community use.

The letter said: "Although the application states that the car park has assisted in facilitating local community events, no evidence was provided to prove that the car park itself related to these events, merely that it was used as parking for these events." 

The letter also said there were other car parks and pubs in the area which offer similar facilities.

Yate Town Council has now submitted a revised ACV application to South Gloucestershire Council.

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.

The councillors declined to reveal the name of the developer and a request by the Voice to speak to them via estate agents Fleurets did not receive a response.

Picture: Yate town councillors outside the White Lion pub.