Leigh Central

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Alan and Jasmin Macdonald have got a tiger by the tail with their massive refurbishment of the old Leigh Pub. They’re exceptionally upbeat about it though – excited, even. It helps that they’ve been joined by longtime Wellington friends Ian and Heather Johnson–Lee, who will be lending a big hand with the project. And locals seem pretty happy that the horrible eyesore that was the derelict pub is now going to be a busy working hub – henceforth to be known as Leigh Central. 8

Stage One – the ‘Coastels’ – will be just about ready by Labour Weekend. “They’ll be like motel units but with a laid-back, coastal kind of vibe,” says Jasmin. It will still be a building site, so they’ll be trying out friends and family in them for a bit, but enquiries for future bookings will be welcome from that time.

There are five Coastels: two studios, two with one bedroom and a sofa bed, and a bigger, two-bedroom unit which will be wheelchair-accessible. All will be fully self-contained, with privacy screens on the deck, and steps down to lawn below.

The Macdonalds have re-used and recycled wherever possible. With his experience as an engineer and builder, Alan was surprised and gratified to find that the bones of the old pub were mostly sound. The existing floorboards will polish up a treat, and they’ll be up-cycling original ply wall panels with a funky whitewash.

Alan and Jasmin are reassuringly realistic about how much they can do in any timeframe. They’ve involved the community at every step of the way: they know that locals will want to have a say, and they want to hear it. But they’re determined to boost the economy of Leigh – “we don’t want to compete, but complement,” says Jasmin. With this in mind, in the next few months they’re hoping to be well into Stage Two: the Function Centre.

There’ll be two spaces available. One is an intimate room for about 50 people with an outdoor courtyard; the other is huge, with seaviews and cool retro features which will be freshened up with lots of glass and decking. This should hold up to 150 punters. Both will adjoin an enormous commercial kitchen. “This will be a build-your-own-event scenario,” explains Alan. “Weddings, celebrations, corporate getaways, anything. We’d love people to start registering their interest now for future events.”

Stage Three? Landscaped parking for up to fifteen motorhomes with an ablution block, shared kitchen and lounge. And Stage Four – a Sunday market specialising in seafood, produce and arty crafts. Watch this space, or like their Facebook page for more updates.

www.leighcentral.co.nz | E: enquiries@leighcentral.co.nz | T: 027 4393 886