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'Eyesore' pub near Bridgnorth set to reopen within months after years standing empty

An 'eyesore' pub in south Shropshire is set to reopen its doors next spring after standing empty for more than four years.

Tom Park, of Landywood Estates, and Craig White, of Darwyn Homes, outside The Acton Arms in Morville near Bridgnorth
Tom Park, of Landywood Estates, and Craig White, of Darwyn Homes, outside The Acton Arms in Morville near Bridgnorth

The Acton Arms in Morville, north west of Bridgnorth is set to reopen next year after a deal was agreed between Darwyn Homes Ltd and Landywood Estates, which joined forces to buy the site.

While Landywood, which already runs The Malt at Landywood in Cheslyn Hay, Walsall, will look after the pub, Darwyn are set to build a trio of five-bedroom houses behind it.

Outline planning permission for the homes and the refurbishment of the pub - which was supported by Morville residents - was granted in August last year. But now, the site's new owners are preparing to submit their detailed planning application to Shropshire Council in the coming days.

Craig White, director at Darwyn Homes, said the Acton Arms will focus on food when it reopens which, and while it won't be the cheapest will become a place you "want to take the family to".

"The pub is becoming an eyesore so it`ll be great for the local community to get it back open," he said.

The Acton Arms is set to reopen next year

Josh Cartlidge, co-owner of The Malt at Landywood, and now The Acton Arms, said work to tidy the site and make it ready for customers is due to start in December or January, with the aim of having the pub ready to reopen in March.

"We want it to be like The Malt, which is all fresh and prepared on-site," Josh said. Work over the coming months includes tidying the car park,

The name is set to change slightly, with the pub due to become The Acton at Morville, to keep the name in the house style alongside The Malt at Landywood. Eventually around 25 jobs will be created at the pub, with the first roles being recruited in January and February.

Despite the current cost of living crisis, Mr White said he was "100 per cent" confident the pub would be a success. He also hopes the pub can capitalise attracting some of the thousands of drivers passing by each day, as well as local residents.

Longer term there are plans to extend the pub at the rear to provide more seats for diners, renovating the rooms upstairs and replacing the windows.

The Acton Arms has stood empty for more than four years

Describing the homes - the building of which will generate proceeds to go towards opening the pub - Mr White said the initial plan was for them to be four-bed houses, but that has since been changed.

"I think a study is more valuable to people as they work from home," he explained. "So they're five-bed with one maybe becoming a study."

Mr White said the homes will carry "design characteristics from the pub such as the rendered elevations". All homes will also have an integral garage and driveway.

Three five-bedroom houses will be built behind the pub

Access to the three houses will be through the pub car park, and a fence or wall will be erected between them and the pub. Work on the houses is expected to start in the first half of 2023 and be complete by the end of the year.

The development is also expected to generate over £60,000 of CIL through the Community Infrastructure Levy.

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