Affordable Accommodation for Bishops Castle
The Bishops Castle Community Land Trust has become the owners of the former Stars Newsagents at 68-70 Church Street, which closed its doors over five years ago in August 2015. The purchase was made possible through the generosity of the late William Bainbridge who left part of his estate to the Trust.
“We are delighted to bring this building into community ownership”, Says the Chairman of the Trust, Jim Gaffney. “Our priority is to get on with the building work to create two flats, which will be let for affordable rent to local people in housing need”.
68-70 Church Street has been part of the street scene in Bishops Castle for over 200 years. It appears on an 1809 map surveying tenants of the Powis Estate, and on another dated 1848. In 1891 the census shows that a certain John Cadwalladers ran his butchers shop from there, and in 1904 another butcher bought it for £462! More recently, Bishops Castle residents have fond memories of it being a newsagents and an excellent book shop.
The building has been totally neglected since becoming empty. Extensive refurbishment is needed, a lean-to extension at the rear needs to be demolished, and then built back up to provide a second bedroom for the upstairs flat. The Trust is applying for grants and can take out a small mortgage, but that will leave around £66,000 to be found from other sources
“We got 329 positive responses to our ‘Save the Stars’ webpage last autumn” says the Trust’s secretary Jonathan Brown. “We hope that many of them, as well as those people wanting to see the heart of their town coming back to life, will want to give what they can to help”.