“A beautiful, historic boutique hotel in the heart of Ludlow” – plans for Castle Lodge to be aired

Castle Lodge, which sits outside Ludlow Castle and just off the Market Square, is about to get a makeover, if planning permission and listed building consent are granted. For years, this Grade II* building has been a rather curious museum of curiosities. With the main structure of the building dating back to Elizabethan times, it has been waiting for someone with a deep pocket to invest in its future. According to a report in the Shropshire Star, it was sold in 2018 for £650,000.

Now, a group of entrepreneurs have come forward with plans for its future. They plan a venue that is:

“Open to all. A great place to celebrate… or relax and sample everything the town has to offer. More than a hotel, also a tearoom, bar, family venue, lounge and an activity centre.”

The plans will be presented to Ludlow Town Council tomorrow night, 16 October, at 7pm.

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Shropshire Council allows felling of three trees on Chandlers Close – it wants replacement trees – but refuses permission to fell two more

Housing association Connexus had applied to fell five trees on Chandlers Close, off Lower Galdeford. Its view, and that of residents, was that the trees threatened properties, paths and a wall bordering the Ludlow Mascall Centre. Shropshire Council says that the two trees reported as threatening the wall are not a threat. It is the maintenance of the wall that is the issue. It accepts, it seems to me reluctantly, that the three trees near properties must be felled as they have grown to a size where they are difficult to manage on this site. It is urging Connexus to replace the trees. I agree with that.

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Reduced licencing hours agreed for the Feathers Hotel in Ludlow – the restaurant and bar are due to open on 18 October as planned

Good news today. The Feathers Hotel has agreed to reduce its late opening hours by one hour. The owners, Crest Hotels, had applied to be open to walk in customers to serve alcohol until 1:00am on weekdays and 2:00am on Friday and Saturday (plus 30 minutes drinking up time). This is too late an hour – or early a morning – for our town centre. We have a lot of residential properties around the Feathers and we do not want this area to become a potential source of antisocial behaviour. The Feathers has now agreed to stop serving alcohol to walk in customers at midnight on weekdays and at 1:00am on Fridays and Saturday. That’s fine and resolves all my objections.

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Visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury to Ludlow 15 October – come early and expect delays getting into and across the town centre

Justin Welby will be visiting Ludlow and holding a gathering St Laurence’s church on Tuesday 15 October. A road closure notice has been put in place at short notice for King Street between 9.15am and 10.30am. The closure could be in place for longer if necessary for public safety. Town workers should arrive early as the Broadgate is also scheduled to be closed that day (though I have asked for that to be lifted). Hundreds of cars are expected so there may be traffic jams, along with crowded park and ride buses.

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Shropshire Council is consulting on the future of its library services – I fear for mobile library services

Shropshire Council’s Library services were reviewed two years ago. The conclusion of that review was that three tiers of library would be established: Tier 1 Library Hubs in Shrewsbury and larger market towns, including Ludlow; Tier 2 Community Libraries in the smaller market towns such as Church Stretton; and Tier 3 Community Libraries in smaller market towns such as Craven Arms. Rural areas would be served by mobile libraries with 281 stops in all.

The new library strategy was to last for five years. But just two years into its implementation, Shropshire Council has announced another review. The council does not give a straightforward reason for the review. Rather, it says “we identified the need for a refreshed strategy that offers a robust vision with clear priorities for the library service of the future.” Given how stretched staff are within the council, and how stretched its finances are, it is inevitable that people are wondering whether the review presages another round of cuts. Otherwise why allocate so much staff time?

The council says it is committed to retaining the three tier library structure. But it hasn’t said it is committed to keeping mobile libraries. There will be a drop in session in Ludlow Library from 10am to 3pm next Wednesday, 9 October.

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