The Salopian, in Smithfield Road, Shrewsbury, has been granted planning permission from Shropshire Council to turn the former Lunts pharmacy and adjoining warehouse into an ‘indoor beer garden’ and storage area.
Landlord Ollie Parry said it was the only way to stop the pub, which is yet to reopen after the devastating floods in February, from closing for good.
The application was approved within a matter of weeks, with planning officers saying it was important to support existing businesses in order to avoid the demise of the town centre in the aftermath of the pandemic.
A report by case officer Jane Raymond said: “The proposed change of use of the existing chemist and warehouse will enable the public house to trade successfully and be resilient in times of severe flooding.
“A successful and expanding public house in this established location will contribute to the local economy and continue to support the vitality and viability of the town centre.
“The proposed relocation of the cellar within the adjacent retail unit (the former Lunts chemist) will enable the cellar to be situated above flood levels and so won’t be impacted by flooding in the future. Previous floods have resulted in the pub having to close with the consequential financial loss of both closure and flood damage.
“The proposal also includes the change of use of the warehouse to the rear to provide an enlarged floor area to enable the pub to accommodate sufficient numbers of customer s in accordance with current ‘social distancing’ measures in order to remain viable.
“The expansion will also enable the space to be used for beer festivals and accommodate additional customers all of which will help the business to remain viable and to continue to prosper in the future and contribute to the Shrewsbury economy.”
The application was supported by Shrewsbury BID and the Shrewsbury and West Shropshire branch of CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale).
Norman Porter, on behalf of CAMRA, said the award-winning pub was “a beacon of good quality and good choice of ale and cider”. He added: “Although vibrant in the evening, the pub is well managed, a key member of the local Pub Watch scheme and avoids any trouble.”
This was backed up by a letter of support from Richard Goodchild, scheme manager for Shrewsbury Pub Watch from 2002 to 2018.
Paul Forrest, chairman of the newly formed Shrewsbury Business Action Group, also supported the application, saying the Salopian was “a key and vital component of the town’s hospitality and tourist sector”.
The planning officer’s report concluded: “The proposed change of use and increased floor area will enable the existing public house to trade successfully and be resilient in times of severe flooding.
“The buildings are not on a primary or a secondary retail frontage so loss of the small retail unit is acceptable.
“Subject to licencing controls and a planning condition restricting amplified and live music the proposal would have no significant adverse impact on local or residential amenity.
“No external alterations or alterations to the roof and roof space are proposed and the proposal would therefore have no adverse ecological implications and there will be no impact on the character and appearance of the buildings.”