WHALEY BRIDGE: Update on ‘eyesore’ Jodrell Arms

The Jodrell Arms in Whaley Bridge

The Jodrell Arms in Whaley Bridge

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Plans to convert an historic building in Whaley Bridge into a hotel are still in the pipeline, the town council has confirmed.

The Grade II-listed Jodrell Arms has stood empty for more than a decade, but earlier this month essential maintenance work started on the property on Market Street.

Chairman of Whaley Bridge Town Council, Coun David Lomax, said: “This used to be the main pub in the town and was the go-to place for functions and it is such a shame it has become an eyesore.

“It has been empty for ten or 12 years, but the plans to turn it into a gastropub and hotel are still underway and work is expected to start by 2019.”

High Peak Borough Council’s Development Control Committee gave the plans the green light in November 2008.

Work to be undertaken includes the construction of a new kitchen, conservatory, bar and toilets on the ground floor, with a roof terrace and garden area for hotel guests. Other internal alterations are also planned.

Coun Lomax and the town council clerk met with the owner of the property, Jeremy Middleton, last month.

“We had concerns nothing was being done and felt it was shame it had been empty so long,” said Coun Lomax.

“After meeting with him I feel much more reassured that the project is still going ahead and the building can be restored to its former glory.”

Whaley Bridge town councillor Jon Goldfinch said: “It is a great shame that it has not yet been brought back into use.”

Coun Lomax said the work which started at the beginning of the month was essential maintenance.

He added: “This is a big project and things like this do take time, especially when it is an listed building.

“All work which is done must comply with the heritage regulations.”

The building has many 19th century features of Victorian Jacobean style, with some parts dating back to the 16th century.

When work is finished the hotel will focus on high-quality affordable food and accommodation.

Mr Middleton said: “This is a great building and I have no plans to sell, however I am not sure when work will be starting.

“Work can’t start without talking to the planners and I don’t know how long that will take. It is a project I very much hope goes ahead.

“The work which is being done is around the cobbles and memorial cross.”

He added: “I don’t believe the building is an eyesore, it is well maintained, not boarded up or has any graffiti on it.”