A CONTROVERSIAL plan to covert a former pub into a hotel and charity conference venue has been approved.

Shropshire Council planning officers have given the green light to the proposal by Melchor Miranda, representing the charity Free Believers in Jesus Christ (FBiJC), to transform the former Highgate Pub into 11 serviced apartments, each equipped with en-suite bathrooms.

Additionally, the facility will feature a coffee shop, dining room, and a private space that will be open to the public and used for hosting small conferences and events.


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    In a prior proposal, the request for an additional 17 parking spaces at the site was initially rejected due to concerns about highway safety.

    However, an update now includes plans for 36 car parking spaces to address this issue.

    Planning officer, Richard Denison, explained: It was considered that the community room would result in a significant increase in customers visiting by car and the proposed layout would appear to provide minimal provision for these customers if all the existing bedrooms were occupied.

    “Inadequate information had been submitted to justify the limited number of 15 spaces allocated for the community room which was likely to result in additional on-street car parking and potential highway safety issues.

    “However, officers considered that if the community room was removed from the proposal with the provision of additional car parking spaces for customers and staff then officers would likely to be able to support a revised scheme.”

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    A Design and Access statement said the building dates from the 19th century, and that they are planning on having a contemporary design yet considerate of existing architectural character.

    However, it received objections from people questioning if another coffee shop was needed in the town and highways concerns due to its location.

    Mr Denison concluded that: “The proposed hotel would lend to the economic dimension of sustainability by generating additional income locally, through the increased spending of visitors on goods, services, businesses, and attractions in the area, and providing new employment opportunities.

    “Sited within the settlement boundary of the Local Plan, the hotel would be deemed a relatively accessible location.”

    The Free Believers in Christ Fellowship is a Christian church group based in the Philippines, with a presence at 13 locations across England.