Delight at news that Ludlow's Feathers hotel is to reopen next year
News that Ludlow's historic Feathers Hotel will reopen next year has been hailed an early Christmas present for the town.
Ludlow's visitor economy has taken a hit since the iconic hotel shut its doors in August, a year after it was hit by a disease outbreak in which a guest died.
But the 17th century, 40-bedroom hotel is now set to reopen in a matter of months – with the creation of 30 jobs – after its new owner, Crest Hotels of Birmingham, pledged to invest £500,000 in refurbishing it.
Ludlow mayor Tim Gill said: "It is excellent news for the town. The Feathers is important to the economy and it is important that it survives in excellent condition as it is an icon for the town.
"People recognise Ludlow for three things – the church, Ludlow Castle and the Feathers.
"The closure of it has had a considerable impact on businesses in town. I was talking to a restaurant owner today and he was saying they have seen a drop in visitors, and the market traders are saying the same thing.
"A hotel that size, with 40 bedrooms and a high turnover of guests, brings so many people into the town to spend money.
"It is the best possible news we could have for Christmas that it will be put back into action."
The planned opening in spring 2019 means the Feathers will be back up and running for the busiest time of the year.
"I am pleased someone has bought it and it sounds like they are going to invest in it," said Tish Dockerty from the Chamber of Trade and Commerce.
"It is comforting to think that someone is willing to put the effort into opening it back up and renovating it.
"It will be great to have it reopened so soon, just in time for the summer season."
Councillor Andy Boddington, who represents Ludlow North, said: "This is good news for Ludlow. The Feathers needs a major investment.
"It is one of the most photographed buildings in our historic town centre.
"There is no doubt that the hotel's closure has chipped a bit of the edge off Ludlow's visitor economy. But we are a resilient town.
"We so look forward to the Feathers reopening. It will be a great boost to Ludlow and Corve Street."
Crest plans to refurbish all guest rooms as well as the reception area, four function rooms, restaurant and bar. A new tea room will be added with the aim of achieving two AA Rosettes within six months of opening.
A new plumbing system will also be installed, after guest Elaine Brown, 69, died in August 2017 from a stroke as a result of contracting Legionnaires' disease which was linked to bacteria in the hotel plumbing.
The sale price has not been revealed, but the hotel was put on the market in January for £2.6 million by the previous owners before it went into administration.