Fight is on to stop historic Finsbury pub being turned into flats

The White Lion, on Central Street. Picture: Google Street View

The White Lion, on Central Street. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Archant

The popular White Lion could “roar again” despite its recent closure.

A developer wants to convert the pub in Central Street, Finsbury, into flats after it closed at the end of last month.

Bunhill ward Cllr Troy Gallagher responded by applying for the pub to be listed as an asset of community value.

If granted by Islington Council, a community group would have six months to gather funds to buy the building, which had only reopened 12 months ago.

In April last year, a huge fire ripped through the building, causing its closure for six months.

But brewery Enterprise Inns sold it to Covent Garden-based developer UCG, and the pub was closed at the end of September.

Cllr Gallagher told the Gazette: “The White Lion rose from the ashes like a phoenix from the flames last year.

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“While the lion may sleep tonight, the whole community and I are determined to ensure that the White Lion will roar again.

“To scrap it for private flats is just not on. We need to hold our communities together and some things should just not be for sale. It’s been here since 1842. So many events are held there.

“People of Finsbury are not going to walk away from their history and have the pub that is their pride and joy ripped away from them. They are completely behind me on this.”

He added: “Importantly, the White Lion is a proper pub, not like a gastro pub where you can eat. It’s simply a place where people can enjoy a pint and chat.

“I have been using it since I moved to the area in 2001 and of course, there are people who have been using it a lot longer. You could feel the amount of affection in the air last year after it caught fire.”

Of his community asset application, Cllr Gallagher said: “I think it has got a good chance. Pubs are among the most successful of these types of applications.

“Hopefully, we will be able to have it carry on the same as it was, for as long as possible.”

UCG declined to comment when approached by the Gazette.