Wellington’s Charlton Arms Hotel has lain empty for almost ten years but a £300k injection from Telford & Wrekin Council could awaken the beast.
The once proud coaching inn boasted a function room, traditional English restaurant and busy bar but when it closed it’s doors in August 2006 following a fire, it was to be for the last time. Plans were drawn up and submitted to convert the grade II listed building into luxury flats and houses, but they were turned down back in 2009.
After J.D Wetherspoons shortlisted the site for a new pub but eventually rejected it, new plans were submitted in 2010 for a residential development of over 50 dwellings. These plans were passed by the council, although by this time, the owners felt that the site was unprofitable.
In another effort to get the ball rolling, Telford & Wrekin Council removed the s106 requirement from the developers, but this was still not enough to encourage the owners to develop or sell the site.
What is S106?
About s106 or Section 106 money. This is a levy made by councils to developers. It’s designed to provide things like road improvements, parks, schools and other community facilities for the people who will move into the new homes. It can also be levied to provide affordable housing if there is none in the development. In the case of the Charlton Arms, the developers were released from their obligations to contribute to the s106 fund again in an attempt to get the wheels moving but still nothing was happening.
The building deteriorated to such a state, Telford & Wrekin Council funded a makeover to the kerb facing side of the hotel in May 2014 in return, the owners would remove the fencing blocking the car park and allow local shoppers to leave their cars there. Weeds were cleared and the building painted and the fence came down. For a while. Before Christmas came, the fence went back up and people could no longer use the car park. Workmen were seen gutting the inside for a few weeks and then it all went quiet again.
In June 2015, another attempt by Telford & Wrekin Council to kickstart the development came in the form of a £300,000 grant to the owners to build 4 affordable homes on the site. The £300,000 comes from the s106 pot that is put aside by the council for affordable homes. The council doesn’t get the freehold of the homes, the money ultimately comes from other developers and can only be used for providing affordable homes.
If the owner keeps their word (and their track history ain’t been great) we could finally see something positive happening at the Charlton Arms Hotel, although what will happen then is anyones guess.