A PLAN to turn the former Natwest bank in Whitchurch into a restaurant and hotel has been approved by Shropshire Council.

Entrepreneurs Ron and Kassie Courson were granted permission to turn the iconic Tudor style building at 16-18 High Street into a restaurant and hotel shortly before Christmas.

It had previously been revealed that the award-winning Michelin restaurant Docket No 33, which is owned and run by Frances and Stuart Collins, would be moving into the building in the spring 2023 under the name of 'Docket Restaurant by Stuart Collins'.

The plans were welcomed by many people in the town who believe Whitchurch needs more accommodation for visitors.

Lucy Young said: "It's great to see investment in our town, especially when it concerns a building of such statue that's been vacant for so long.

"Seeing it restored and in use will be a real bonus for the town.

"This building will be fabulous as a restaurant, with a real bonus of creating much needed accommodation within our town."

Robert Wilson added: "This is wonderful news for the High Street.

"Congratulations to the people behind this application who are taking on a huge financial risk in re-purposing such a large, iconic building.

Whitchurch Herald:

"This is undoubtedly the star building on the Whitchurch High Street and its re-opening will lift the status of the street and encourage greater footfall from additional visitors."

An objection was raised by Geoff Turner who raised concerns the amount of parking for staff and visitors.

He said: "Any redevelopment that requires a significant amount of parking is misplaced in Whitchurch High Street.

"Four spaces for staff for the size and proposed use of the building is entirely inadequate, and there is no parking provision for visitors including those dining, but more importantly those staying overnight.

"This sort of establishment (Michelin Guide) produces and necessitates visits by people from outside of the town, meaning parking is required.

"With the already crowded and sometimes difficult to access High Street, this proposed development can only add to this problem (which includes restriction of pedestrian walkways due to partial pavement parking)."

In her conclusion, Shropshire Council planning case officer, Sue Collins felt that the issue of parking shouldn't stop the development from going ahead.

She said: "On balance it is considered that the potential re-use and renovation of this important building for a restaurant and accommodation would be most suitable for this town centre location.

"The scheme seeks to be sympathetic to the existing building and while there is only limited parking to be provided on site, this is not considered significant to warrant refusal in this location."

The building had lain empty since 2016 when Natwest moved out.