Plans for new restaurant and apartments on Tower Street replacing One Stop and the Post Office

Ludlow architect Trevor Hewett has drawn up plans to rebuild the One Stop store in Tower Street as a restaurant and ten two bedroom apartments. In an exhibit currently in Ludlow Library, Mr Hewett says:

We are preparing a planning application seeking change of use of the ground floor to restaurant use or retail use. New upper floors will contain ten two-bedroom apartments.

The stone building currently housing refuse bins will become the entrance to the apartments. New upper floors over the stone building will contain a two-bedroom town house.

Any development on this site will be an improvement on horrid building that currently stands at 9 Tower Street. But I have my doubts about the scale of the proposed building. I think it is too tall. I am also concerned about the future of our main post office.

9_Tower_Street_current_view_east 9_Tower_Street_current_view_west 9_Tower_Street_front_elevation 9_Tower_Street_front_elevation_2

Trevor Hewett says:

The site lies on the edge of the central conservation area at an important gateway to the historic town. The existing low building does not sit comfortably in the streetscape.

The proposed building will repair the street frontage and, with a varied roofscape of clay tiled roofs and gabled, lime-rendered elevations will harmonise with the surrounding buildings. The important vista of the tower of St Laurence’s church will be preserved, framed by the new building.

Consultation

The detailed plans: Proposed Redevelopment of 9 Tower Street Ludlow

These plans have not been submitted to Shropshire Council. This is a preapplication consultation. Comments should be sent to Trevor Hewett, architect, by 11 June: th@trevorhewett.co.uk. There will be a further opportunity to comment once formal plans have been submitted to Shropshire Council.

Please also let me know your views in the comment box below.

The plans will be discussed at a meeting of Ludlow Town Council’s Representational Committee on Wednesday 1 June, 7pm at the Guildhall. Members of the public are welcome and can speak at the beginning of the meeting.

My comments

Almost any development on this site will be an improvement on the ugly building that currently stands at 9 Tower Street. This is an attractive proposal but I have my doubts about the scale of the new building. The roofline is 2.4 metres – nearly 8 feet – above that of the Co-op store. I think this is too high for the location.

I don’t know whether we need a new restaurant in Ludlow. A McDonalds would be popular but outlets for multinational fast food companies will not fit well with the historic character of our town. A more upmarket restaurateur might widen the variety of food on offer in the town but could also undermine the viability of existing restaurants.

I am also concerned that we are drifting towards a town where you can buy a cup of coffee but not a shirt for your back. We need to serve food and drink to tourists and visitors, as well as residents who want to eat out. But it would be a sad day for Ludlow if we can’t buy everyday essentials in the town centre. We are not at that position yet. But we should ask the question of every planning application: “Will this change the character of the town centre.”

My greatest worry is for the future of the post office. Its current Tower Street site has proved ideal for customers travelling on foot, by bus or by car. The survival of the post office should concern us all. I would like a reassurance that the post office will remain at 9 Tower Street or have a new home in the town centre that is at least as convenient. Central Ludlow has one of the oldest populations in the country and older people need easy access to post office services. I would not like any redevelopment of 9 Tower Street, no matter how much it is needed, to threaten the future of this essential service.

10 thoughts on “Plans for new restaurant and apartments on Tower Street replacing One Stop and the Post Office

  1. As you say, any building would be an improvement on the existing eyesore and I think these designs are good looking and sit well in the location. I am not sure why you think there are too many restaurants in Ludlow already. Try getting something to eat with children at 5.30/6.00pm. Very little choice apart from Pizza Express which you also were against.
    I worry that this proposal will be picked over and over and developers will lose interest – a story which seems to be frequently replayed in Ludlow.

    1. Thanks Jane. I agree we have a gap in food provision around 5-6pm as the town changes from day shift to night shift. Outside the pubs, there is only PizzaExpress and Wildwoods. I wasn’t against PizzaExpress but questioned, as I still do, whether our town is better off being taken over by chains like Costa.

      The main issues with PizzaExpress were the design. We worked hard at that and got a much better facade than the compny originally put forward.

      I don’t think the owners of 9 Tower Street will lose interest. Macham Investments paid £490K (ex VAT) for the property in July 2015. They’ll want a decent return for their investment so will stick around.

  2. It’s not unusual for Post Offices to be sited in W H Smith. Both Worcester and Kidderminster have this situation. Maybe W H Smith might be interested in the ground floor as a retail area?

  3. Yes, I agree with the view on keeping an accessible Post Office in the centre of town. I like the proposed plan.

    How right you are about buying a shirt for one’s back, or indeed anything ordinary. One’s driven to do everything online. And how terribly early all the shops close! By 5 pm Ludlow is dark, shuttered and deserted. No wonder burglars feel confident of walking into empty buildings.

    Regarding restaurants, does anyone ever try getting a bite to eat about 7pm? Eating out isn’t always a black tie occasion – tourists just finishing a 200 mile drive want a convenient satisfying meal before anything else.

  4. As someone who works in Tower Street I see this as a huge improvement on the streetscape. Regarding the Post Office, as the Co-op is changing to Budgens, perhaps they would like to have it.
    Regarding the r estaurant – for heaven’s sake, no Macdonalds on one of the main pedestrian accesses to the town centre !

  5. It would certainly improve Tower Street and is a good design but planning permission should not be granted until a new home is found for the Post Office
    and it is up and running. The flats also should also have the full affordable sale/rent allocation.

    1. Current plans are for 11 homes, so a 15% affordable housing contribution will be payable. But if the developer reduces the number of properties to 10, no affordable housing payment will be payable. So don’t be surprised if plans change.

  6. I have heard, though I can’t vouch for the reliability, that the Post Office will be re-locating to Budgens. I agree that in some ways we are reaching saturation point with restaurants, apart from the “hungry gap” between about 5-7 in the evening. There is a clear need for somewhere for people who are perhaps gong to an event in the evening to be ale to get a meal first.

  7. I agree that it would make the area look much better and flats are a good idea but please not another restaurant or cafe. We have so many in the town now it’s getting rediculus, we all have to struggle through the quite times of the year as it is!! Every time another one opens we loose more bums on seats in our cafe ☹️
    Wendy kirby.

  8. I disagree. Yes, the building is slightly unattractive, but Onestop is an essential part of the town. And while you are discussing where to buy a burger (Across the road by the way) you miss that fact this is only perfect for festivals, but not for people that live here all year round. And may I also add that numerous amounts of people will be out of work from it’s closure (in a town that doesn’t have jobs). So do you think those newly unemployed people will be eating out?

    So, some wealthy man from out of town obtained the building and is now trying to cash in… and yet any other time you would argue to keep this town authentic?? Hypocritical?

    John Betjaman described Ludlow as ‘probably the most beautiful town in England’, so why let other people dictate the changes?

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