Shropshire Star

Couple want to turn struggling rural Shropshire pub into home after it fails to sell

The owners of a country pub in the Shropshire countryside want to turn it into a residential home after it has failed to sell.

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The Baron of Beef, at Bucknell

Phil and Debra Wright have had The Baron of Beef - also known as the Baron at Bucknell - on the market for more than nine months.

They have told planners at Shropshire Council that due to the combined effects of Brexit, Covid-19 and the cost of living crisis, the country inn and hotel in Chapel Lawn Road was no longer viable as a business.

In a planning application, the publicans have said they want to convert the pub into a residential home.

They also want to demolish the buildings connecting The Baron with the grade II-listed Turkey Hall, currently a residential home, and build domestic garages, although they intend to retain the five-bedroom hotel business.

In a personal statement sent to Shropshire Council by consultants Inklines, Mr and Mrs Wright have said they wish to retire after running the Bucknell pub for more than 16 years.

But they say after marketing the inn for the last nine months for £1.8 million, they have received no interest and were told by their sales agent that "in the current economic climate, the business is unlikely to sell" .

The application explained that since 2012, there have been 7,500 pub closures in the UK, with the West Midlands being the worst hit - Shropshire has seen a 20 per cent decline in pubs it claimed, and blamed Brexit, the pandemic and the recent cost of living crisis for the industry's struggles.

The planning application added: "If the current situation continues there is a very real prospect that the Baron of Beef will close."

The statement pointed out that Bucknell would still have a pub if the Baron, which was converted from barns in 1985, was to close, as the Sitwell Arms is nearby.

Among objections to the planning application is Bedstone and Bucknell Parish Council, which said it would prefer to see it remain a village pub, providing jobs for local people, and has asked the couple to continue to market the pub as a going concern.

The planning application for The Baron at Bucknell will be decided by Shropshire Council later this year.

Phil and Debra Wright have been approached for comment.