Catherine of Aragon's former Ludlow home to become hotel
An historic house in Ludlow that was once the home of Catherine of Aragon has been granted permission for a new lease of life as a boutique hotel.
Shropshire Council has approved plans that will see Castle Lodge refurbished and reconfigured to provide 10 en-suite bedrooms, a reception area, lounge, bar and restaurant.
The Grade II* listed building in Castle Square had begun to fall into disrepair before it was bought by Ben Tagg in the summer of 2018.
Late last year he revealed ambitions to transform it into a hotel following extensive research undertaken by a conservation architect and heritage expert which had pieced its fascinating history together.
Best known as the former residence of Catherine of Aragon, who lived there while she was married to Prince Arthur – before marrying his younger brother Henry VIII after his death – the lodge dates back to the 13th century, rebuilt in 1580.
Over the centuries it was lived in by a botanist, a sea captain, MPs and a shoemaker. It has always been privately owned, and had previously been open as a hotel. Most recently it was a private dwelling and museum.
In a nod to the building’s patchwork past, Mr Tagg has ambitions to theme each room around someone who once lived there.
The planning application was supported by Ludlow Town Council, Ludlow Conservation Area Advisory Committee and Shropshire Council’s archaeology and conservation departments.
The conservation team said: “The proposed change of use, whilst involving some alteration and adaptation to historic fabric, would provide a sustainable future use for the building and ensure it is maintained going forward.”
There were four objections from members of the public, who argued there was no need for another hotel in the town and that the building should remain for residential use.
But a report by planning officer Heather Owen said: “Due to its scale, location and lack of private amenity space it is acknowledged that its useful purpose as a single residential unit appears to be at a natural end, as the property no longer suits modern living expectations.
“The subdivision of the property to provide a 10-bed hotel would enable the refurbishment of the listed building and provide a facility accessible to the public – albeit paying customers – which is arguably more accessible than if the property was subdivided into separate private units of accommodation.”
Recommending the application be approved, Ms Owen concluded: “The scheme would add to the variety of the town’s facilities and services, increasing choice. It would secure the immediate future use of a vacant historic building.
“As such the scheme would support the council’s planning policy objectives to support town centres and ensure the provision of a range of facilities and services and the wider council's objectives to boots Shropshire’s economy and businesses.”
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