A planning application has been submitted for a new micropub at 17 Tower Street, on the corner of Old Street (20/00128/FUL). If approved, and I can see no reason why it shouldn’t be, it will be Ludlow’s fourth micropub alongside The Dog Hangs Well on Corve Street, The Blood Bay on High Street and The Wicked Grin on Fish Street. That will help Ludlow build its reputation as a destination for good and unusual places to eat and drink compared to the often bland fare in bigger towns and cities.
The application is from Malcolm Nicholls, who has operated the Stretton Ale House in Church Stretton since November 2017. It is for a change of use from Class A1 (shops) to Class A4 (drinking establishments).
The property has been vacant for a while. It was previously a carpet shop and before that an Indian restaurant.
The micropub will offer a range of cask and craft beers and a selection of wine and spirits, soft drinks and coffee, to be consumed on the premises. The food offer will be limited to snacks. There will be no cooking on site. There will be no live music, gaming machines or TVs. Last orders will be at 10pm nightly.
I can see no reason under the rules that govern planning decisions for opposing this application. Listed building consent may be required for some part of the work. Objections cannot be made on competition grounds.
In a discussion with Malcolm Nicholls, I suggested that he seeks advice from conservation experts on the exterior colour. The current white is not suitable for a conservation area. I don’t favour the current trend to paint buildings a dour grey. We should use a wide colour palette but ensure that facias are respectful to the conservation area.
This proposed conversion is part of a trend for high streets to become places to experience as much as they are places to shop. I welcome this building being brought back into use. Tower Street is already suffering from the closure of Bakers and the French Pantry. I hope these closures are temporary. With the redevelopment of Budgens on the horizon and the Queens going strong, the Galdeford corner and Tower Street look to be on the up.
We should perhaps give the area a name to help reinforce the sense of it being a destination, not just a place to pass through on the way from the car parks to the shops. Galdeford Quarter would reflect the modern trend to name areas in town centres quarters. Galdeford Gate would also work well. A name would also promote collective marketing for the businesses in this area.
We can never give up promoting Ludlow as a destination. It has great history, great places to shop, great markets, great eating places and great places to drink. But high streets are under threat. In Ludlow that threat will increase if the out of town supermarket at Rocks Green is built.
We must do everything we can to ensure that Ludlow town centre survives and thrives.
Historic England Listing
No.17 TOWER STREET. Restaurant and shops. C15-C17 with C20 alterations. Render with plain tile roof, hipped to No.17. Originally street-corner courtyard plan, subsequently filled in. 2-storeys also with attic to No.17. 5-window range in all of C20 windows and shopfronts, much undercut on corner. Tower Street front similar with undercutting recalling original jetty. 2 gabled dormers. INTERIOR of shop to right has probably C16 spine beam and heavy rafters, otherwise not inspected, but No.17 is reported as retaining a late medieval roof in the front half with curved wind braces and timber-framing of heavy scantling in the rear half. (Lloyd D: Ludlow Historical Research).