Pub near Shrewsbury to be converted into nursery

A village pub which closed last year is set to be turned into a nursery after Shropshire Council agreed to the change of use.

The Four Crosses Inn at Bicton
The Four Crosses Inn at Bicton

The plans for the Four Crosses Inn in Bicton, just outside Shrewsbury, are expected to create 25 jobs with capacity for up to 100 children to be cared for.

The pub shut its doors at the onset of the pandemic and was put on the market for £550,000.

It is being purchased by nursery nurse Rachel Moelwyn-Williams, who intends to run the setting as a franchise of Canopy Children’s Nurseries.

The building’s footprint will remain the same, and is to be divided internally to accommodate the new nursery business.

Children attending will be aged three months to five years.

The plans include an ‘indoor garden’, parent workspace and community room, and outdoor play area. The 53-space car park will be retained.

Bicton Parish Council and Shropshire Council’s early years service supported the plans, and there were no objections from members of the public.

A statement from the parish council said: “Bicton Parish Council supports this application because it is a good use of the redundant building, it will create employment, there will be no weekend opening, the car park is sufficient and rigorous attention has been paid to safety.”

Granting approval for the scheme, planning officers said it was accepted that the pub was no longer viable, having generated no interest from potential buyers interested in keeping it open as an eating or drinking establishment.

A report by case officer Jane Raymond said: “It is considered that the proposed new use will provide a valuable service and facility, providing an alternative community facility for residents in Bicton and the local area.

“It will also benefit members of the wider community and further afield that use this main route into Shrewsbury town centre, or Oswestry in the opposite direction, to reach employment in the Shrewsbury or Oswestry area.

“The Four Crosses is also situated on a bus route between Oswestry and Shrewsbury with an hourly service operating in both directions from 6.45am to 6pm.”

The report concluded: “It has been demonstrated that the existing use of the premises is not viable and it is considered that the proposed change of use would not result in the loss of a valuable community amenity and will provide an alternative valuable service and facility.

“There is existing adequate parking and a safe means of access provided and it is considered that the proposal would have no highway safety implications.”

The nursery is set to open its doors next spring.

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