Former pub could be start of Buxton’s artisan quarter

The former White Lion pub being converted into The Artisan Quarter, Nina Lubman, Lynn Broadbent and Jon Baigent
The former White Lion pub being converted into The Artisan Quarter, Nina Lubman, Lynn Broadbent and Jon Baigent

Developers have revealed ambitious plans to transform the site of a derelict hotel into an artisan quarter for Buxton.

Jon Baigent and Lynn Broadbent hope to convert the White Lion in to up to 45 retail units for independent Peak traders and producers.

The first phase of the 8,500-square-foot development, involving the ground floor and the courtyard behind the building, is expected to be open to the public by October 6.

It is anticipated that the first room to be filled, the former pool room, will be populated with vendors selling jewellery, crafts and clothes, similar to an indoor farmers’ market.

The couple began gutting the vacant Holker Avenue pub in 2011, when it closed down, and are hoping to complete the project by the spring.

The main entrance to the property will be from the alleyway off Holker Road, behind Buxton Oak, Sue at Westons and The Co-op Travel on Spring Gardens.

After acquiring the 15-bed hotel, Jon and Lynn, of Millers Dale, initially considered converting the property into flats, and then restoring it as a hotel, before deciding on opening up for retail use.

Jon said: “We want to support local businesses that cannot afford the rent on a shop in Spring Gardens and only need a small space.

“Our leases are shorter and flexible and we want a real creative mix.

“The idea is that all the rooms and sections will be connected so people can be milling around looking at everything.”

Eventually, the four-storey building, which incorporates a cottage where previous landlords used to live, will feature studios for artists and sculptors upstairs.

While the owners hope to convert a back room into a restaurant and outdoor seating area, once planning consent is obtained.

Other possibilities include a bakery or greengrocers at the front of the premises, in the former ladies toilets of the pub, and a workshop for carpenters or metalworkers in a former smithy at the rear.

The White Lion pub, which dates back to 1661, used to be a popular venue for farmers visiting Buxton on market day.

In Victorian times the site in front of the inn was used for well dressings and the nearby coaching station attracted sideshows.

If you are interested in leasing a unit, contact Nina Lubman on 0844 991 6462.