An application for planning permission reveals the future for De Grey’s tea rooms.

Many would have hoped that the building would have been resurrected as a traditional café and tea rooms. Some feared it would become a Wetherspoon pub, though many others have told me they would welcome a cheap beer and food outlet in the town.

Neither is to come to pass.

A planning application has been submitted by Wildwood: “an expanding group of restaurants with freshly prepared food sourced locally.” There is a promise of 40 full and part-time jobs, with the restaurant open from mid-morning until perhaps 11pm.

Wildwood requires changes to the back of the building with a bigger door to access an outdoor eater area. The planning application reference is 14/01249/FUL (search here). The historic aspects of the building will not be affected.

It’s good that a new restaurant use has been found for De Grey’s. But it is not De Grey’s as it was. It will not be a magnet for American tourists. It will no longer be a destination within Ludlow. It will just be another chain restaurant.

This is not a loss to our foodie reputation. The food was good at De Grey’s, but it was never talked of as a food destination. It will be a loss to the traditional character of the town.

But we need food outlets in Ludlow. A restaurant in De Grey’s will help us cope with peak demand over the summer and festival season. It is better that is used than being empty.

Let me know your views on this.

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