A DERELICT Herefordshire hotel has been branded "structurally sound" despite calls from locals for enforcement action.

The historic Royal Oak hotel, at the junction of Leominster's South Street and Etnam Street, has been closed for a number of years.

The three-storey Royal Oak is a Grade II-listed coaching inn thought to date from the late 18th century.

But while empty, the hotel has suffered storm damage, vandalism and general neglect, despite Jai Rai, of Rai Fashions in Madley, receiving for listed building consent to carry out repairs including to the roof and windows, to rebuild a chimney, and to fix storm damage in 2022.

Councillors, North Herefordshire MP Sir Bill Wiggin, and Leominster Civic Society have all called for enforcement action in recent months, with society chairman John Farrar claiming that gutting and masonry have fallen off the hotel, while roofing tiles are slipping and broken windows mean that pigeons will be causing damage to the internal structure with droppings.


And, at a meeting of Leominster Town Council's planning and highways committee earlier this year, it was resolved that the town clerk would write to Herefordshire Council and the council's chief executive officer regarding the condition and risk posed by the hotel, a building on land in Dukes Walk, Flames in West Street, and 73 Etnam Street.

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Now, draft minutes from the committee's March meeting reveal, the clerk's letter "has been acknowledged and passed on to representatives, in the economy and environment directorate, who have been asked to respond on behalf of the chief executive."

Leominster councillor Jacqueline Herschy has also written to the chairman of Herefordshire council about the condition of the Royal Oak and has been advised that the building is fundamentally sound and will be subject to quarterly checks, 

"Councillor Herschy sent a reply to advise that this was not acceptable and is trying to arrange a meeting with representatives from the town council, Herefordshire Council and the owner of the Royal Oak to discuss the issues," the minutes said.