Bid to turn rural pub into thriving community space takes huge step forward with major grant

A huge £2m grant is set to turn an historic but closed down pub into a thriving community hub. Pailton Parish Council has received the cash from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for its Save the White Lion campaign.

The 18th century coaching inn, which is grade II listed closed in 2018, leaving the village bereft as its last shop had shut in 2014. But with the £2,040,170 it will be restored, becoming a community pub with a restaurant, café, shop and post office.

There will also be accommodation, enterprise units, co-working space and landscaped gardens. Planning permission was secured earlier this year and, if all goes as hoped, the shop could open in around 12 month followed by the pub in early 2026.

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Parish councillor Tina Simpson, who has led the project, said: "We are delighted to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players. And are confident the project will put the heart back into Pailton, bringing much needed facilities and telling the heritage story to the wider community.”

Pailton Parish Council purchased the White Lion in 2019 as an asset of community value and it will be run by a community interest company. The £2m grant is the culmination of four years work to progress through funding rounds.

The parish council describe the venture as 'probably the single biggest project by a parish council in Rugby borough and the most important thing that has happened in Pailton for a generation'. Once open it is hoped the hub will offer family activities, volunteering opportunities and work experience.

It is believed the White Lion began life in the late 16th century or early 17th century as a small farmhouse and then became a coaching inn to service the turnpike road.

The first tenant or landlord was recorded in 1791 and a post office was incorporated in 1850. By the mid-19th century there were six pubs in Pailton of which the White Lion was the last to shut six years ago.

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