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The Development Bank of Wales funds businesses that they think will benefit Wales and its people. The ones that will create ripples of growth- those that are more than a good business model or a great idea.

Mid Wales Inn Invests in Four-Star Upgrade

Alan Murphy, White Lion; Andrew Drummond, Development Bank of Wales

A Mid Wales inn has invested in upgrading its facilities to a four-star level.

All ten bedrooms at the White Lion Hotel in Machynlleth have been refurbished and upgraded with new beds and ensuite bathrooms of the quality of a four-star inn thanks to a loan of £96,000 from the Development Bank of Wales and a grant of £24,000 from Visit Wales. The bar and restaurant areas also benefited from a full redecoration plus new carpets and furniture. Outdoor facilities including bike storage along with the installation of EV charging points, solar panels and secondary glazing will follow.

Alan and Michelle Murphy first took on the lease of the White Lion Hotel in 2012. The introduction of the Pubs Code and a new ten-year free-of-tie lease in 2022 means that the couple now have freedom of choice over their own suppliers, giving them the incentive to invest in the future of the business.

With more than 20 staff who are all paid at least the National Living Wage, Alan and Michelle are supported by their two daughters. Emily Murphy is the General Manager and sister Lauren is a Senior Chef.

Alan Murphy, White Lion

Alan said:

“With ten bedrooms and a 90-cover restaurant, the White Lion has always been a busy spot in Machynlleth which is popular with locals and tourists alike. During the second lockdown the White Lion varied its license and now opens from 8am for food and drink, with hot food served from 8am until 9pm seven days a week, 364 days a year.

“The reconfiguration and refurbishment of the bedrooms means that we can now offer our guests a great night’s sleep with ensuite facilities. We also have two inter-connecting rooms with a shared ensuite bathroom that will be ideal for families. But this is just the start and we have more exciting plans that we’ll now start work on thanks to the funding from the Development Bank and Visit Wales.”

Andrew Drummond is an Investment Executive with the Development Bank. He said:

“Situated in the centre of the busy market town of Machynlleth, the White Lion Hotel plays an important role in the local economy by providing much needed accommodation for tourists and visitors making the most of this beautiful part of Wales.

“Together with our colleagues at Visit Wales, we have been able to structure a funding package that has enabled the Murphys to accelerate the investment necessary to achieve four-star standard. It’s a really positive step forward for the tourism sector in this area.

“Importantly, most of the refurbishment and reconfiguration work has been carried out by local contractors, suppliers and builder merchants and the funding will also help to deliver future improvements. This includes EV charging points, solar panels, additional insulation and secondary glazing along with a secure cycle storage facility. It’s about investing for the long-term benefit of the local community, economy and environment.”

Phil Griffiths, Senior Business Analyst with Welsh Government, said:

“The project to upgrade to a good quality four-star inn to attract more visitors to this growing tourism destination fits well with the Visit Wales strategy and will enhance the profile and benefit the town.”

The loan of £96,000 from the Development Bank of Wales came from the Wales Tourism Investment Fund. Financed entirely by Welsh Government, the £50 million fund offers loans up to £5 million for distinctive, stand out tourism projects that align with the priorities of Welsh Government,. Projects may include high quality, innovative products, all weather attractions, distinctively Welsh visitor focused experiences, innovative cultural or heritage projects, unusual places to stay and flagship attractions.

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