A former Shrewsbury Town manager has announced ambitious plans to build a new hotel in a village near Shrewsbury – but is facing fierce opposition from a bowling club whose green would make way for the site.
Jake King, who managed Town in the late 1990s and also had two spells at Telford United, wants to build the 30-bedroom hotel on land he owns opposite the Ye Old Cross Gates Inn in Ford, a pub he took over last year.
He said the motel-style development would create about a dozen jobs and help to ensure the future of his pub.
But the land earmarked for development is currently used by Ford Bowling Club and members of the Shropshire Premier League outfit have pledged to fight a vociferous campaign against the proposals.
As part of the plans, a sum of £20,000 would be offered to the parish council to provide a replacement bowling green in the village.
But Andy Jones, the chairman of the bowling club, which has about 60 members, said the money would not be sufficient to provide a suitable new site.
“It won’t be anywhere near enough. Sport England quoted £106,000 to build one from scratch.
“We would need to purchase land to build it on or find a suitable recreational space to put it on,” he said. I would expect it to cost in excess of £50,000.”
He added members of the club had been shocked to learn of the plans.
Mr King has applied for outline planning permission for the site, with guests at the motel intending to use the pub across the road for meals and drinks.
He said the plans are part of an attempt to diversify what his business offers and help ensure it has a profitable future.
“There is a massive recession at the moment and lots of pubs and restaurants are closing,” he said.
“That road needs a hotel – when people come off the motorway from Birmingham or London, this is the first pub they hit.
“We are doing very well at the moment, but we have got to move on. I want to create jobs and keep the pub trade going.”
Alan Mayhew, a member of the club, said in a written statement to Shropshire Council that he was registering a profound objection to the proposals.
“Ford Bowling Club are members of two local leagues, and proudly are also members of the elite Shropshire Premier League, and I can assure the applicant that the many objections you will receive will be vociferous,” he said.