A COMMUNITY group is hoping to save a village pub in Cheshire by taking it into community ownership.

Ashton Hayes Community Hub Ltd (AHCH) is working to buy, restore and re-open the Golden Lion as a hub for local residents.

The not-for-profit Community Benefit Society (CBS) have agreed in principle to purchase the pub, which has been closed for more than a decade, and aiming to raise at least £250,000 in the form of community shares.

An overall target of £625,000 has been set by the Community Hub, with £360,000 secured from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities via the UK Community Ownership Fund (COF).

AHCH say that this amount provides the means to refurbish and reopen the Golden Lion, with “a small contingency fund.”

The group is also exploring other grant options.

The Golden Lion was listed as an Asset of Community Value in 2018, allow AHCH to make an offer to the owner through the Right to Bid process. This offer was refused and the £196,100 raised was returned to those who had pledged.

The new share offer, which will open on May 2, will have a minimum investment of £250 per investor, with a maximum of £25,000 per individual investor, and a total maximum subscription of £420,000.

Vision for The Golden Lion

The Golden Lion has been a significant part of the village for more than 200 years until it closed in 2013.

Other similar venues in the area include the likes of the Goshawk – primarily a restaurant and bar, The Royal Oak, The Morris Dancer and the Farmers Arms which are all at least a mile away from Ashton.

In their Business Plan, AHCH say: “The vision is to acquire and restore the Golden Lion pub to be a thriving community owned enterprise serving the community both as a pub and a broader community hub.

“Putting The Golden Lion Pub and Hub at the heart of our community will help ensure the long-term survival of The Golden Lion by making it the central community point for the village and creating a facility where the whole community can come together. A place to meet both informally and formally, a place to drink, eat, play or simply come for a chat, where everyone of any age is welcome and feels part of what is going on.”

They also say that a tenant will be found to run the pub as “a viable and sustainable business” which will serve a wide range of beers, wines and spirits and restaurant and bar food.

The tenant will also manage the Golden Lion as a hub “providing a place to meet, engage, access facilities and available for all.”

Cllr for Sandstone, Hugo Deynem, has also given his support to the campaign.

In a post on X (Twitter), Cllr Deynem said: “Save the Golden Lion moves ever closer to bringing the village pub into community ownership and reopening but, it needs YOUR HELP please support and share to your socials.”

A public meeting is also planned for Thursday, May 2.

More information about Ashton Hayes Community Hub’s plans for the Golden Lion can be found at: https://goldenlionashtonhayes.co.uk/.