A DERELICT Herefordshire hotel branded a "death trap" by worried locals has sparked more calls for urgent enforcement action.

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

The hotel has been left empty for over five years and has been subject to storm damage, vandalism and neglect, with many locals seeing it as an eyesore.

The latest call for action, after complaints from councillors and an MP, comes from Leominster Civic Society. The society is calling on the council to take swift enforcement action and says it is "disappointed" over the deterioration of the hotel.

Chairman John Farrar said: "A section of cast iron guttering from the hotel recently fell off onto the pavement in Etnam Street, fortunately not hitting anybody.

"Pieces of masonry fall off, so far small enough not to cause injury. Roofing tiles are slipping. Broken windows mean that pigeons will be causing damage to the internal structure with droppings. And, of course, it is an appalling eyesore that does nothing to enhance our town.

"Herefordshire Council is only suggesting a "tidy up notice" and the dangerous buildings officer states the building is safe. The society disputes that a building where heavy goods fall off is safe.

"Immediate action on the restoration is needed. We are concerned that the grade-II listed building will be allowed to deteriorate to such an extent that demolition is the only option. This must not be allowed to happen."

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Jay Rai, of Rai Fashions, Madley, applied in July 2022 for listed building consent to repair the hotel's roofing and windows, rebuild its chimney, and fix storm damage. The application was approved with conditions, but the building remains in a poor condition.


Herefordshire Council leader Jonathan Lester said that enforcement action would be taken if there were no timescales given for the remedial works.

This led to north Herefordshire MP Sir Bill Wiggin speaking out about the state of the hotel, saying: "The Royal Oak is too important for tourism and the look and feel of Leominster to be allowed to crumble."

Local people have also taken to social media recently to express concerns, with Marina Morris describing it as a "death trap".