Rickards will be no more and Ludlow will lose one of its most distinctive independent retail shops. Rickards has sold hardware and domestic wares since 1864. Now, the property is up for sale and the vendor is inviting anyone who wants to also buy the business to contact them.
An application for planning permission has been made to allow a wider variety of uses for the ground floor. The next use could be anything from a café to a financial adviser. The vendors have a clear preference for “a mixed space which will incorporate retail, spaces for local artisan crafters to utilise, sale of drink and food from local suppliers, spaces to hire for meetings and small events and the display of historic artifacts associated with Rickards and Ludlow.”
Rickards has had less stock and shorter opening hours in recent months. Now the building is for sale by Carter Jonas for £595,000 freehold. The company describes it as:
“An exciting opportunity to acquire an attractive period property set within the charming historic heart of Ludlow, with huge potential for a range of uses (subject to planning) including a coffee shop, wine bar, holiday lets, residential apartments… and more.”
Carter Jonas adds: “The vendor is willing to enter into discussions should any purchaser be interested in buying the retail arm of Rickards & Son Ltd.”
Unless someone wants to buy the 160 year old business, as well as the shop and space for two apartments above, this looks like the end of Rickards as we know it.
Heber Rickards established Rickards at 6 & 7 Bull Ring in 1864. For more than a century-and-a-half it has been one of the most distinctive buildings and businesses in Ludlow, a visitor attraction in its own right. Now its future will be in the hands of the purchaser.
“The vision for the applicant is to utilise No. 6 & 7 The Bull Ring (ground floor and the Courtyard Building) as a mixed space which will incorporate retail, spaces for local artisan crafters to utilise, sale of drink and food from local suppliers, spaces to hire for meetings and small events and the display of historic artifacts associated with Rickards and Ludlow.”
- Conversion of the first and second floor into two separate 2-bed residential apartments (Use Class C3a) including all associated building works and connection to services. Use Class C3a allows domestic dwellings, including apartments.
- Use of the ground floor and the courtyard building as Use Class E (incorporating Ea, Eb and Ciii). These use classes cover display or retail sale of goods, other than hot food, sale of food and drink for consumption (mostly) on the premises and “any other services which it is appropriate to provide in a commercial, business or service locality”. It does not allow a take-way food business or bar, which would require sui generis planning consent. The ground floor is currently use class Ea.
The planning application specifies maximum opening hours of 08:00 to 19:00, Monday to Saturday and 09:00 to 18:00 Sundays and public holidays.
I can’t see any objection to the two apartments. This was the original use before the upper floors were used for storage from early in the 20th century. The plans had been to also convert the Courtyard Building to a dwelling but this was not brought forward after discussions with Shropshire Council’s planning and conservation officers.
How the ground floor is used will depend on the purchaser’s aspirations. Planning and conservation officers have emphasised the importance of retaining the historic fabric, including flagstones and blue setts in the courtyard.
Class E is wide ranging and the national planning system makes it easy to switch from one use to another. However, the local plan for Shropshire identifies the Bull Ring as part of Ludlow’s primary shopping area, meaning whatever use must have a retail frontage on the ground floor.
The three storey building is of 19th century construction and has a cellar. The properties are Grade II Listed and described as follows by Historic England:
Shops and dwellings, now shop. Mid C19. Brick; painted brick; plain tiles and Welsh slate; brick end stack to No.6. 2-unit plan. 3-storeys and cellar. No.6: 3-window range: margin-glazed sashes under enriched lintels with keyblocks with figureheads, to 1st and 2nd floors; moulded wood eaves.
Shopfront has central glazed double doors with nameboard over, under panelled soffit, flanked by canted windows with moulded glazing shafts; moulded fascia board and hood, with consoles on pilasters.
No.7: single-window range: canted bay with margin glazed sashes, coved underhang, and wood modillioned eaves; 2 margin-glazed sashes over, with stucco lintels and corbelled stone sills; moulded wood eaves. Shopfront has central half-glazed door with overlight, under panelled soffit; flanked by canted shop windows with moulded glazing bars and pilasters, under moulded wood hood, with enriched consoles on moulded pilasters. Right returned side: passage to rear has C19 timber-framing with brick infill, and half-glazed door with margin glazing and fielded panels in simple architrave. Gable of rear wing displays C19 timber-framing, with 8/8 sash and C20 leaded 2-light casement to 2nd floor; two C20 leaded lights to 1st floor; three 15/10 sashes, bowed, to ground floor; panelled door, now partglazed, and overlight with glazing bars. Wing to rear: fixed lights to 1st and 2nd floors; plank door and leaded overlight under segmental arch, with leaded light under segmental arch to left.
INTERIOR: cellar mainly brick lined with mutilated brick vault to No.6; No.7 retains earlier ceiling beams with chamfered joists. Stick baluster staircase; C17 chamfered beam in wing to rear of No.6.
C19 fireplaces. The whole retains many fixtures and fittings of the iron monger’s trade, having been owned by the Rickards family since 1868.