Like most of the beautiful buildings in Ledbury’s historic Tudor town centre, the new site for Pot & Page is grade II listed. This means we have all the delights a characterful beamed 17th Century town house has to offer, but also that we have to be very mindful of any changes we make over the years to come. 

Luckily Listed Building Consent (LBC) has a fantastic advice service that helps you to navigate all the weird and wonderful rules set up to protect the history of towns such as ours. They offer a (Covid-19 friendly) site visit where they inspect the property and offer top tips on how best to make updates, while preserving the history. If you are lucky you will also find out some extra little historical tit-bits as you go! We found out that one of the larger stones in our cellar wall had probably been taken from a church, and that we had an old barrel ramp from the street as well as some barrel storage chocks (and yes, this did get us thinking about whether to stock some of Herefordshire's best ciders, but all in good time…).

We are hoping to make a few bigger changes leading up to opening later this year, including re-opening the spiral staircase down to the cellar, installing underfloor heating, gutting the kitchen and installing a super extraction system to better meet the food hygiene standards - alongside all the cosmetic plans we have for the space.

Image - Renovating the stone cellar of a listed building

Through research and the fantastic advice given to us by Andrea, the Conservation officer for the north of Herefordshire, we have learned that you definitely need to seek permission for any jobs that destroy historic materials, or for anything that is not completely reversible. ‘Destruction of historic materials’ can sound pretty bleak, but in our case the jobs that could involve any ‘destruction’, could also help preserve more than they destroyed. A better extraction system, opening up the cellar and underfloor heating will help the building stay dry and prevent any continued damage associated with damp. Win-win. From the advice from the council so far, this is their point of view too, but we will have to wait for our official go ahead before getting down to work.

Before applying for LBC we had to consider how best to carry out the works sympathetically. The cellar is a bombsite to put it mildly. Years of damp and dirt have not been kind, but we are aiming to clean and restore what’s there, rather than introducing new materials. This means suring up and cleaning the walls and then taking up the floor one brick at a time before laying underfloor heating, cleaning each brick individually and replacing. In short - dirty work. Luckily Nic doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty and doesn’t shy away from a hard day’s work. We are hoping to open the cellar up to customers once it is finished, but for now it will remain a spider haven while we await the green light. 


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