Pub company Wetherspoon’s still intends to open a hotel within an historic city centre inn even though the building has been boarded up for months.
JD Wetherspoon took over The Bull and Stirrup, Upper Northgate Street, in September 2014 with the promise of a £2.3m investment to create one of its branded hotels, previously known as WetherLodges.
However, the hotel has remained boarded up for around 21 months leading to speculation the popular chain had abandoned the project.
But a Wetherspoon’s spokeswoman insisted: “We plan to open it. It is still going ahead. We have planning permission and licensing but no opening date as yet.”
Responding to rumours, she stressed: “We are not selling it on.”
Planning and listed building consent has been obtained to allow a single storey rear extension and internal alterations to provide 10 refurbished hotel bedrooms with en-suite facilities and new WC facilities to upper floors.
And the premises licence has been amended so the pub can open from 7am and sell alcohol on and off the premises from 9am seven-days-a-week. This is in line with the Wetherspoon’s operated Forest House in Love Street but the company’s Square Bottle premises in Foregate Street is allowed to sell alcohol from 8am.
The Bull and Stirrup has a lot of history. For example, on August 31, 1972, the pub famously hosted a strike committee, including one Ricky Tomlinson, which led to the first ever national strike by building workers.
Ricky was among the 24-strong ‘Shrewsbury Pickets’ later prosecuted for unlawfully plotting to intimidate workers on building sites into joining the action and he served 16 months in jail. The surviving pickets are still fighting to clear their names.
Ten years ago, in 2005, there was a furore when The Bull and Stirrup hosted erotic table top dancing in an upstairs room in a first for the city centre.
Last November Wetherspoon’s revealed The Forest House was included in a nationwide sell-off of 34 outlets, worth an estimated £40m. The Forest House is still on the market but will remain open until a buyer is found.