AN APPLICATION for listed building consent to add a cafe and holiday accommodation into one of Presteigne’s most recognisable buildings has been submitted to Powys County Council.

Income from both the cafe and holiday lets could help secure the long term future of The Judge’s Lodging Museum.

The  Grade II listed neo-classical building on Broad street is a museum which shows how judges and their staff and prisoners would have lived in the 19th Century.

Agents for applicant The Judge’s Lodging Trust, Arrol Architects, has explained in a design and access statement: “The proposals is to provide a café on the ground floor in order to improve the offer for visitors to the museum.

“The conversion at first floor, to holiday lets, will be carried out with due care and attention to the listed building and to a very high standard in order to maximise the return.

“Market research has indicated that a high-quality holiday let will achieve high occupancy rates and maximise return on the investment.

“High occupancy rates also have a knock-on effect on the local economy generating revenue for existing businesses in the locality.”

The agents also said that generating more income would help the long-term future of the museum.

Presteigne was the legal centre of Radnorshire for 400 years.

It was chosen in 1542 as the venue for the Court of the King’s Great Sessions, in preference to Rhayader where a judge had been murdered in the 1530s.

Due to this Presteigne also became the administrative county town for Radnorshire.

County Times:

The Judge’s Lodging was built between 1826-1829, by Edward Haycock of Shrewsbury, and featured a court room, administrative offices, and living rooms.

From the 1830s onwards, it held the Court of Assizes and was part of the legal circuit which saw judges travel from court to court listening and deciding cases.

But in 1889, the the newly formed Radnorshire County Council chose the thriving spa resort of Llandrindod Wells as it county town.

Legal proceedings continued to be heard in Presteigne up until the Autumn Assizes of October 1970.

Assizes were then abolished by the Courts Act 1971, which established permanent Crown Courts.

Use of the building dwindled and its state began to deteriorate.

Eventually in the 1990s the building was transferred to The Judge’s Lodging Trust from Powys County Council and transformed into a museum.