The White Lion, a Grade II listed building on Great Underbank in Stockport that had been derelict for more than 10 years, is now home to 11 one- and two-bedroomed apartments, thanks to a £2.4m investment by Trafford Housing Trust (part of L&Q) under the Laurus Homes brand, in partnership with Stockport Council.
The apartments have proved to be extremely popular and are now all occupied under the rent to buy scheme. This helps first time buyers to get on the property ladder by providing subsidised rent and enabling them to save funds to buy their home.
Cllr David Meller, Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration at Stockport Council, said: “The completion of the White Lion is another exciting project contributing to Stockport’s vibrancy and complements our ambitious plans for the town centre like investment in the Underbanks, improvements to Merseyway shopping centre and the new transport interchange.
“Creating new homes to the quality that has been achieved in the White Lion is vital to establish the town centre as a location of choice in South Manchester, and breathes new life in to what was formerly a disused building. This historic building looks fantastic and has been given the respect it deserves in its new life as luxury apartments.
“Alongside the apartments, the restoration works to the ground floor and basement have created an ideal location for a food and beverage offer, which we hope to bring forward later this year.”
Sean Dooley, Project Manager at Trafford Housing Trust, added: “We are really pleased with the apartments, which have been finished to the highest modern standards whilst retaining a lot of the original look and feel of the former pub. Letting the properties under the rent to buy scheme gives customers access to affordable housing, along with the opportunity to get a foot on the property ladder.”
The White Lion has a fascinating history since it was first granted a licence in the 14th Century. It was originally a popular coaching inn on the main route in and out of Stockport and close to the only crossing point of the Mersey at Lancashire Bridge.
The pub was rebuilt several times over the centuries and was re-fronted in a mock Tudor black and white style, in 1823. The last major remodelling took place in 1904-1906, giving the building the distinctive features it still carries today.
To preserve the building’s rich history, it has been sympathetically restored. The grand staircase, original glass and unique turret room have all been preserved and finished in a modern design. The original pub sign has also been incorporated into the new development, giving a nod to the past and its former life.
The renovation of the White Lion forms part of the council’s £7m investment in the Underbanks and Market Place to transform this unique and important part of Stockport Town Centre.