What happened to £150,000 grant to restore Northampton's oldest pub?

A landlady is wondering if her pub will ever see its share of a £1.6m restoration fund awarded to a Northampton church almost four years ago.

Thursday, 13th April 2017, 5:28 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:39 pm
The Old Black Lion is Northampton's oldest pub.

In 2013, the Heritage Lottery Fund promised a £156,000 grant to refurbish the oldest pub in Northampton.

But the landlady of the Old Black Lion, in Mare Fair, says she has never seen a penny of the grant.

Hollie Murray, 32, said: "No one has been in touch in years. I'd almost forgotten about it.

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St Peter's Church.

"It would be nice to have I suppose. I've never considered it my money in the first place but they said it would be used to renovate the pub and I haven't seen any of it."

The refurbishment money for the pub was set aside when nearby St Peter's Church was awarded a £1.6m restoration grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2013.

The Church Conservation Trust look after both St Peter's Church and The Old Black Lion.

The pub's outbuildings were earmarked to become a visitor's centre, while the pub would become a pub-restaurant.

St Peter's Church.

But none of the partners involved in the project - including the Churches Conservation Trust, the Friends of St Peter's Church or the Heritage Lottery Fund - were available to comment on what has happened to the money.

Hollie said: "St Peter's is not open or functioning. I see about a handful of people go there each month to ring the bells."

Hollie took over a 25-year lease for the Old Black Lion six months ago, but has worked there for three years.

She said: "I was told the church made a cash offer to buy the pub's lease, but they were turned down."

The Old Black Lion was built in the 17th century, and first traded as the Plasters Arms. It burned down in the great Northampton fire in 1675 and was restored as the Old Black Lion in 1720.