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Work starts to regenerate the Old Black Lion Public House

Planning and building control

06 April 2023

Spades in the ground at Old Black Lion

Last week, building work began to rescue the Old Black Lion public house in Marefair, Northampton.

The milestone was marked by a small gathering of those involved in the project including the contractors – Midland Conservation Limited – the Churches Conservation Trust, the Friends of St Peter’s Church and representatives of West Northamptonshire Council.  

The works are part of the Churches Conservation Trust’s ambitious project to regenerate the Old Black Lion, which is a Grade II listed building, next door to St Peter’s Church. The church dates to the 12th century and is listed at Grade I, but closed for worship in 1995 and was vested in CCT in 1998. Despite periods of use by the community and an active Friends group of volunteers, in recent years St Peter’s has struggled to function as a heritage landmark and venue due to a lack of hospitality facilities or WCs.

We are delighted to be working with Church Conservation Trust to bring this derelict former pub back into use for our local community. The building is a real focal point for the local area and I look forward to seeing it be transformed over the coming months. Once complete, this asset will form part of the wider gateway into the town, complementing the Marefair Heritage Park and deliver a hub for local residents at the heart of the community.Cllr Daniel Lister, WNC’s Cabinet Member for economic development, town centre regeneration and growth,

Enabling and demolition works took place last summer and now the main conservation repair works can begin; a third contract for fitting out the pub and offices will follow in November 2023.

The aim of the project is to restore the Old Black Lion as a pub, open for business and once again serving the local community. The idea is that the refurbished pub will provide hospitality for visitors and volunteers at St Peter’s Church, supporting the work of the Friends of St Peter’s Church and encouraging beneficial uses of the church for concerts, performances and events.  

The revitalised pub could also generate funds for the repair and conservation of St Peter’s Church and to support the work of CCT more broadly, providing the church with a more sustainable future. In addition, CCT’s national office will be located on the first floor of the Old Black Lion. It’s been a huge effort from the CCT team, the design team, contractors, and our partners and friends in Northampton to reach this major milestone of starting conservation works on site; we are excited to see the building transformed over the coming months.
Hannah Parham, Regeneration Project Manager, the Churches Conservation Trust 

The project will cost £3.5m, of which £3m is capital expenditure. CCT was awarded a National Lottery Heritage Fund Enterprise Grant of £1,841,800 in 2016; in November 2022, this was augmented by £794,405, to reflect rising costs.  Funding has also been granted by HM Treasury’s Towns Fund, West Northamptonshire Council, the Architectural Heritage Fund and West Northamptonshire Development Corporation.

The project has received £315,000 of Towns Fund support, and the delivery is supported by the Northampton Forward Board and forms part of the Marefair ‘Heritage Gateway’.

The refurbishment should be completed by Spring 2024, with the publican opening the pub shortly afterwards.

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