Former Kenilworth charity shop could be turned into restaurant

By James Smith

30th Sep 2023 | Local News

The former hospice shop has been used as a pop-up shop recently (image by James Smith)
The former hospice shop has been used as a pop-up shop recently (image by James Smith)

A former Kenilworth charity shop, which has been empty for over three years, could be turned into an all-day restaurant.

Plans to turn the former Shakespeare's Hospice Shop at Abbey End into a "café/bar/restaurant" have been submitted to Warwick District Council (WDC).

If approved, the scheme would see the building extended to fill the gap between the existing shopfront and the walkway to Abbey End car park.

The application has been submitted by Grevayne Properties Ltd and Loungers PLC - the latter runs the Cosy Club, Brightside and Lounge brands.

Planning documents say up to 30 jobs would be created through the restaurant, bringing back to the life the empty unit which has been vacant since early 2020 when the charity shop closed.

"The proposed scheme seeks to extend the existing building and make internal and external alterations which will enable the building to be used as a café/bar/restaurant," the application said.

"This extension will generate an additional 81 sq.m of floor space at ground floor but more importantly it will provide a new continuous 'active' frontage to this part of Abbey End which currently does not exist," it added.

"This new frontage will not only significantly improve the appearance of the existing building but it will also significantly enhance its setting."

A drawing of the proposed extension (image via planning application)

The application refers to the site as 'Kenilworth Lounge'.

The company opened its 200th Lounge branch in Buckingham in September, offering food and drink all day.

Lounge said at the time it places an "emphasis on community" and a new branch normally sees a £1 million investment in the high street.

The company has 238 sites across the three brands and says it wants to open at least 600 Lounges across the UK.

Alex Reilley, chairman and co-founder of Loungers, said in September: "We are hugely proud of the positive impact that our sites have had on local communities right across the UK since opening the first Lounge 21 years ago. 

"We are determined to continue playing a major role in breathing new life into high streets, as well as creating and sustaining much needed local employment. Time and time again we've seen that the opening of a Lounge has a really positive knock-on effect on the businesses around it and, of course, on the local employment market. 

"Last year alone we created around 1,000 new jobs through new site openings and are on course to comfortably exceed that figure in the current year.

"To be opening our 200th Lounge is a fantastic landmark, but there is lots more for us to go for. We firmly believe that there is scope to have at least three times that number of Lounges in the longer term, and we are more ambitious than ever before about our plans for the future."

The unit was recently used as a pop-up shop and raised £4,500 for a 16-month-old boy who has lost three limbs.

See the full application here.


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