Could the Golden Lion in Ipswich re-open in 2018?
PUBLISHED: 18:13 07 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:06 08 February 2018
A former Ipswich pub which served punters for more than 500 years could be about to pour the pints again, as plans to re-open its doors have emerged.
The Wetherspoon-run Golden Lion announced a shock closure in February 2016, before it closed its doors that April.
The Grade II-Listed building had been serving the ales since the 1700s according to English Heritage estimates, but prior to that a pub called the White Lion had occupied the site from at least the early 1570s.
Now, after nearly two years of laying dormant, a new bid has been put in to take over the building – which is understood to be for another bar or pub.
CBRE, which is overseeing the lease, confirmed that it was under offer, and is expected to complete in the next three weeks.
The firm was unable to confirm which company had made the offer, but sources suggest it is likely to be for another bar or pub, and wouldn’t require a planning application for a change of use.
A spokesman from JD Wetherspoon, which first occupied the site in 1998 and has a freehold on the building until 2033, said the building “won’t re-open as a Wetherspoon” but was unable to rule out future occupation by another pub.
It is not yet clear what the pub may be called or when it may be open to the public again, or whether the hotel rooms will also re-open, but is understood to have come about as a result of restored confidence in the town centre as work on the £3.6 million Cornhill revamp has begun.
Ipswich Vision chairman Terry Hunt said: “Seeing the Golden Lion reopening would be a tremendous boost for Ipswich town centre. It has been part and parcel of our town for many centuries and its closure has left a yawning gap.
“The return of the Golden Lion would also be great news for the Cornhill project. As well as the improvements to the actual square, it’s essential there are vibrant, successful businesses operating around the Cornhill.”
At the time of the closure, JD Wetherspoon had also been running The Cricketers and Robert Ransome, but in early 2017 sold the Ransome back to previous owner Yates.
The Golden Lion closure came as the chain axed 34 of its pubs amid falling profits, with a spokesman at the time only citing the closure as a “commercial decision”.