A derelict Lune Valley pub is going to be “gorgeous again” after a couple bought the building.
Lynn Makin and Bob Bauld, both 50, sealed the deal on the White Lion pub in Church Street, Halton, last week, meaning they can now start work on converting it into a cafe and gallery space.
The Grade 2 Listed former Mitchells pub closed in 2006, and has been in decline since then.
Planning permission was recently sought to turn it into flats, but this was rejected because of issues with flooding.
Now Lynn and Bob, who have been living in Tunstall, plan to create a “destination cafe” called the Red Door Cafe and Gallery, and hope to have the work completed by early next year.
The couple previously ran a B&B and fine dining restaurant in a converted vicarage in Galloway, Scotland, for four years, but sold up a few years ago. Bob, from Glasgow, also had two shops selling Persian rugs in Glasgow and Hebden Bridge.
He said: “We wanted something where we could work from home. We decided to look at the north of England, and looked at a lot of things online, and came across the White Lion.
“We were looking at pubs, specifically old pubs that had shut down. We saw it in December 2012 and fell in love with it straight away.
“We’re very excited about it and we want to make it beautiful again.”
Bob said the pub was currently “in a bit of a state”, but would soon be “buzzing again”.
“We will be starting small and building things up,” he said.
“The cafe will feature local seasonal produce and organic breads, and we’ll be looking to source from local veg growers.
“We’ll be planning bistro nights, exhibitions, bring your own nights, and events, poetry and folk singers.
“We’re definitely here for the long term.
“We need to settle down. We’ve moved house seven times in the last 12 years.
“This is an old building that’s going to be gorgeous again. We want to create a “destination cafe” so that people come back and we want to get the place buzzing again.”