A landmark building in the heart of a north Cumbrian town that has stood empty for more than two years is poised to be brought back to life.
A family who turned one of Brampton’s rundown pubs into a successful business are aiming to do it all over again.
The Nobles have taken on the building that housed the former White Lion Hotel, in High Cross Street and say they are not ruling anything out.
The building had been up for auction but Colin and Dianne Noble and their family, who run the Scotch Arms Mews, bought it prior to the sale at its reserve price of £120,000.
“We bought the White Lion as a business opportunity, however we are not ruling anything out at this early stage,” said Dianne.
“Structurally, the building is in a good state of repair; however, internally it needs major renovation.
“Everyone in the town knows the White Lion and has a story to tell about their time in there, whether it was for morning coffee, having a family meal or drinks.”
The imposing three-storey building has a bar and games room, lounge and dining room, kitchen, dry store, beer cellar, three- bedroom private accommodation and a further 10 letting bedrooms.
It underwent a £110,000 refurbishment when it opened in October 2014 as an Indian restaurant but closed six months later after illegal immigrants were found to be working there.
The building was boarded up and put up for auction in September 2015.
It was bought by Suffolk Life, which specialises in self-invested personal pensions (Sipps).
But it was then put back on the market in 2016 and failed to attract a buyer, with the reserve price of £150,000 not met.
Ye Olde Scotch Arms ceased trading in 2013 and was given a new lease of life when Dianne and Colin converted it into a luxury bed and breakfast, which opened in 2014.
During the works they uncovered historic features of the 18th century building, which is Grade II listed.
A deep well, old oven and an ornate doorway – thought to be the last of its kind in Brampton – were among the key features incorporated into its design.
Speaking about their plans for the White Lion building, Dianne added: “We will be working with the planners and the heritage officer.
“But there are very few features in the White Lion compared to those which we found during the renovation of the Scotch Arms Mews, such as the well.”
The B&B, which consists of 10 en-suite rooms, lounge area and bar, was extended in 2015 and now a second extension is almost complete.
Since opening it has been popular with walkers, cyclists and business people visiting the town.
Local historian and chairman of the parish council David Moorat was thrilled to hear the White Lion was in the hands of a local owner.
“I’m absolutely very pleased that something is actually happening to the White Lion after all and even more pleased that is is going to be refurbished by the Noble family.
“They have got a very good name locally. I’m quite sure that we should all be pleased that this building is now in safe hands,” he said.
“I’m not sure if it is going to be a pub or whether Brampton could stand another pub but we could certainly do with more accommodation.”
He said any development was better than letting the building fall into disrepair.
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