Latest refurbs bring investment to £1.5m

MAJOR refurbishment work totalling almost half a million pounds was unveiled when two Calder Valley pubs re-opened last week.

Although these are economically tough times, the valley has already seen huge investment in 2011 with Wetherspoon’s £1.1 million refurbishment of the White Hart in White Hart Fold, Todmorden, and now two more businesses are showing commitment to the area, bringing a total of around £1.5 million put into the licenced trade this year.

Last Wednesday an opening night party was held to mark the completion of around £400,000 refurbishment at the historic White Lion Hotel in Hebden Bridge.

And Friday saw a newer pub premises re-open after £50,000 worth of refurbishment work at the Bramsche, Rochdale Road, Todmorden.

Town crier Les Cutts rang out the old and rung in the new when he officially reopened the 17th century White Lion Hotel, which is one of the oldest buildings in the town and has undergone a complete new makeover.

More than £400,000 has been spent on transforming the hotel, in Bridge Gate.

New owner Michael Grimes said: “The ambition is to create a great classic pub and a pub that will hopefully be used as it should - as a meeting and social place for the community.”

Mr Grimes said the opening night was “absolutely fantastic.”

“We have been overwhelmed with the support and kind words we have had from the people of Hebden Bridge.

“It was particularly nice to receive the comments that the Lion was now at a standard they wanted see. I just hope we can fulfil peoples’ expectations.”

The opening was also attended by the Mayor of Calderdale Nader Fekri, a Hebden Royd town councillor.

The whole building, which dates back to 1657, has undergone extensive works including to the external frontages, new signage and lighting, all ground floor areas, external courtyard seating arrangements, and transforming the main building bedrooms into a boutique hotel complete with Victorian roll-top baths.

Further works have also being undertaken to the 50 capacity function room, and the four courtyard cottages.

In Todmorden David Cooper has spent £50,000 completely refurbishing the Bramsche with the aim of returning it to its roots as a continental style bar, operating as a cafe during much of the day and becoming a fully fledged bar in the evening as they day goes on.

David has spent his working life in the music industry, including leading his band The Last Peach in the early 1990s, and running his own record and PR companies.

As well as a hand-picked juke box, one feature of note will resonate with late 80s and early 90s clubgoers as one of the posts is painted in yellow and black in homage to the pillars at Manchester’s famous Hacienda night club.

The aim is that the Bramsche will be family friendly and it is certainly a family concern. David’s sister Jodie Robinson is manager, and his son, Sam Ash, and his wife’s cousin Amelia Jarman will work there too.

In the last several years refurbishments have also taken place at premises ranging from the Dusty Miller at Mytholmroyd and the Polished Knob, at Todmorden, formerly known as the Black Swan, proof that businesses are showing willingness to invest.

Busy hilltop outlets like Top Brink and Shepherd’s Rest at Todmorden, the Hare and Hounds at Old Town, the Robin Hood at Pecket Well (readers of the Hebden Bridge Times voted it their pub of the year this year) and the Hinchliffe at Cragg Vale, plus thriving town centre hotels like Moyles, Hebden Bridge, the Queen, and Scaitcliffe at Todmorden, and a great selection of local pubs and clubs across the upper Calder Valley, all mean customers may never have had a wider choice of where to spend some leisure time.