Housing plans for former Shrewsbury hotel approved

A former hotel will be turned into housing after plans to convert the Grade II listed building were approved.

The Lord Hill Hotel when it was still in business
The Lord Hill Hotel when it was still in business

The Lord Hill Hotel in Abbey Foregate in Shrewsbury is to be reconfigured into three properties, with modern extensions demolished in order to restore the 19th century property to its former glory.

Building firm SY Homes, which purchased the hotel following its closure last year, also wants to build flats on the site which will be the subject of later applications.

The work to the hotel itself has now been given the green light by Shropshire Council planners, after conservation experts said the project would have a “positive impact” in restoring the historic building and prevent it from falling into disrepair.

A separate application for listed building consent has also been approved.

A report by case officer Jane Raymond said: “It is agreed that the removal of the 1960s extensions that have a detrimental impact on the significance and the setting of the original villa, and the proposed sensitively designed internal and external alterations – carefully implemented and to a high standard and controlled by conditions attached to the listed building consent – will have a positive impact on the building’s appearance and character.

“The proposed demolition and external alterations together with the proposed landscaping will enhance the appearance of the site and the setting of the listed building – and adjacent listed buildings – and therefore also enhance the appearance of the Conservation Area.”

Ms Raymond said the site was in a good location for housing and the loss of the hotel would not lead to a shortfall in visitor accommodation in the town.

She added that the plans included adequate parking and landscaping proposals.

The report concluded: “The location of the development close to Shrewsbury town centre that makes use of a brownfield site is considered to represent sustainable development and is acceptable in principle.

“Subject to compliance with the conditions attached to the listed building consent the proposed development will ensure that the heritage asset is preserved and enhanced with a new sustainable use securing its future maintenance.

“The proposal would preserve and enhance the external appearance of the listed building and the character and appearance of the conservation area.”

Constructed in the early 19th century as a single residence, the building first opened as a hotel in the 1960s.

Since then it has been extended multiple times, including the addition of the front conservatory in the 1980s.

Wrekin Lodge, a 24-bed accommodation block to the rear of the hotel, was also added around that time.

The hotel closed on New Year’s Day 2020, with previous owners Raymond and Vera Proctor, who had run it since 2001, putting its demise down to a “significant downturn in trade”.

In a supporting statement submitted with the application, the applicant said the later extensions were “haphazard”, “piecemeal”, and had “significantly diluted the character and historic interest of the original listed building”.

This was backed up by a heritage impact assessment carried out by Castlering Archaeology, which said the work would have a “positive” impact on the building and its surroundings.

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