A food bank supporting over 100 people every week will soon have its own dedicated base after plans to convert a disused abattoir were approved.

The proposals were put forward by Bishop’s Castle Community Land Trust (BCCLT), which said it wanted to offer the local food bank a permanent, secure premises in the heart of the town centre.

The plans relate to the old abattoir to the rear of the former Stars newsagent at 68-70 Church Street, which BCCLT, a community benefit society, bought in 2021 and is currently renovating into a community hub and two flats.

The building was last used as an abattoir in the mid-20th century, and was later used for storage but has been derelict since the 1980s.

A decision notice from the Shropshire Council granting permission for the new food bank says: “The proposed use as a community food bank is considered appropriate in this town centre location surrounded by a mix of other uses, some of them commercial.


“Additionally, the scheme would sympathetically restore and reuse an existing building of heritage value, and which contributes positively to the character and appearance of the wider conservation area.”

In a statement submitted in support of the application, BCCLT said the scheme would support the continuation of the food bank, which currently provides a life line to around 110 people a week.

“Working in partnership with the food bank will enable us to help and support the growing number people in Bishop’s Castle and its surrounding areas who cannot afford to feed themselves or their family,” the statement said.

“The food bank does not have a proper base. It moved from an upstairs room in the Methodist Church to its present temporary location in the Church Barn, which it has to share with other organisations booking the hall for events and meetings.

“It has inadequate storage space and no security of tenure.

“Stocks of food have to be kept on open shelving in the hall itself, in a cleaning cupboard and in a damp, separate shed, involving double handling of the stock, and resulting in wasted time and effort.”

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BCCLT hopes to apply for grants to fund the transformation, but says if it is unsuccessful other fundraising options will be looked into to ensure the project can go ahead.

The statement concluded: “The trust’s proposals to refurbish this neglected building and bring it back into active use as a much-needed food bank in conjunction with its community hub facility in 68-70 Church Street will result in a significant upgrade in the social facilities of the town and the appearance of this part of the Bishop’s Castle conservation area and the settings of the nearby listed buildings within it.”

The approval of the plans coincides with a significant milestone in the community hub development, with the covers removed on Friday to reveal the refurbished shop front.

The trust plans to rent out the two flats as ‘affordable homes’, adding to the two homes it already lets out at Kings Head Yard.

The trust is owned by around 286 shareholder members and managed by a board of local people.