Bishop's Castle set to lose historic pub - first licensed in 1642 - to housing
A south Shropshire town is set to lose a popular historic pub and hotel - first licensed in 1642 - as the owners plan to convert it into housing.
Planning officers at Shropshire Council have recommended approval for the proposals to make the Boars Head Hotel in Bishop's Castle into four houses.
It comes despite objections from residents, councillors and the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) who say it would be a loss for the town.
Inspector of historic buildings and areas for Historic England, Julie Taylor, said: "This former coaching inn is believed to date back to 1597 and was first licensed in 1642. As such it has been an integral part of life and the vitality of this small rural town for over 400 years.
"Altered and adapted in the 19th and 20th centuries, this Grade II listed property remains much of historic interest and contributes positively to the character and appearance of the Bishop's Castle conservation area."
After the plans were revised, Historic England said they are satisfied with the proposal subject to it being carried out to a high quality level.
Bishops Castle Town Council also submitted an objection letters on the grounds that the loss of the hotel and pub would have a detrimental effect on the local tourism economy.
Other issues raised include that there is insufficient parking provision, the development would overlook neighbouring properties, and that the applicant’s reasons for closure are personal rather than commercial.
The proposed development seeks to convert the pub into a pair of semi-detached dwellings, the detached outbuilding known as the Curley Tail from a bed and breakfast into one home, and to create an entirely new building in what is currently a car park.
The owners said while they recognise that the loss of such a long established business will be disappointing to many, it is no longer viable in its present form.
In a report that will go before the southern planning committee on Tuesday, the authority's planners said it is unlikely that the application would threaten the vitality and viability of Bishop’s Castle’s town centre and tourist economy.
Case officer Trystan Williams said: "Despite some possibility of the business proving more successful under new management, and claims that it should have been marketed at an even lower price, the loss of the existing pub and holiday accommodation is considered acceptable on balance as it should not significantly affect the town’s vitality and viability, or community vibrancy."
A separate application to make alterations to a listed building will also be considered at the meeting.