Moves have begun to halt the decline of a prominent but disused Herefordshire hotel.

The three-storey Royal Oak, at the junction of South Street and Etnam Street in Leominster, is a grade II-listed coaching inn thought to date from the late 18th century.

It has been “redundant and neglected for many years”, according to a new bid for listed building consent to renovate the roof, weatherings and windows, and carry out external repairs and internal refurbishment.

“When the building has been maintained, this has been carried out with little sympathy to the historic nature of the building,” it claims – particularly the “defective” roofing and “inappropriate methods” of waterproofing the building.

The building, which changed hands three-and-a-half years ago for £380,000, is one of several in the town set to benefit from £3.6 million of Government funding under the High Street Heritage Action Zone project.


According to the project’s delivery plan, the hotel’s new owner is keen to work with the town council to restore it in order to provide “much needed” visitor accommodation.

But it says “bare minimum” external works are likely to cost £210,000, with “the full cost of renovation likely to be considerably more”.

The applicant for the work, given as Mr Jay Rai of Rai Fashions, Madley, has “an enormous task to rectify damage caused from the long-term neglect”, the latest bid says.

It does not propose changing the building’s design, layout, appearance or access arrangements.

Comments on the application, numbered 222443, can be made until August 25.