Shropshire Star

Plan to turn former home of Catherine of Aragon into boutique hotel submitted

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Castle Lodge in Ludlow

Plans for a 10-bedroom ‘bijou’ hotel in a Shropshire town centre have been put forward.

Castle Lodge in Castle Square, Ludlow, which was the former home of Catherine of Aragon, could be transformed into a modern hotel after plans were lodged with Shropshire Council this week.

Under the plans each of the hotel's rooms will be themed after a historical character that lived in the building at one time.

Ben Tagg, of New Media Services Ltd, said he wants to turn the building – which is currently a residential dwelling that sometimes opens as a museum – into a hotel which will attract tourists to the town.

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In its planning application, the firm said: “The application is to change the Grade II* building dating back to 1590 into a bijou hotel.

“The concept is to create a commercial business that runs in harmony with the existing local businesses to increase tourism and adds to the local dynamic by using and promoting local produce and products while creating additional employment on a small scale.

“The heritage assessment undertaken has been used to lead the assessment of changes to the fabric of the building and protect the significant assets from change.

“The application building is sited opposite to the castle and has a café on one side and a commercial shop on the other.

“The building on this site dates to a known date of 1270.

“The building will be marketed based on the historical characters that lived in it over time, one representing each room.

“Ludlow will provide a focus for development, whilst respecting its historic character.

Historic analysis

“Working with Historic England and the county conservation officer to ensure that the above is fully achieved the owners have employed a lead designer who is a member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation.

“It has backed him with a historian to evaluate the facts on the timeline used to produce a 115-page historic analysis and the schedule of importance that has been used to protect the heritage fabric while at the same time developing a building that can change from an unused domestic building into a functioning hotel.

“Ludlow Castle is stated as needing investment. The level of priority is noted as key.

“This is to improve links with local town centre businesses and improve wayfinding and interpretation.

“As set out in the heritage assessment of the building, the link with the castle is long term and important. It housed the examiner of the council of the Marches based in the castle and it was the headquarters of the Royalists' armies in the Civil War when they recaptured the castle.

“This link will now be brought back as part of the development of the hotel.”

It adds: “Ludlow is an important tourist destination and has achieved international renown as a centre for quality local food and drink and Michelin starred restaurants.”

The plans will be decided on in the near future.