A DISUSED historic town centre pub, which once housed an undertakers and has connections to Byron and Shelley, has been described as “perfect” for new housing by a councillor.

The Royal Hotel in Usk's Old Market Street has been reportedly been closed for more than ten years and is currently unoccupied.

Grade II-listed and dating back nearly two centuries to 1839, it has a Blue plaque recording that novelist, adventurer and friend of the Romantic poets Edward Trelawny once lived there during a 12-year stay in the town.

The plaque to Edward John Trelawny on the Royal in Usk
The plaque to Edward John Trelawny on the Royal in Usk (Usk Civic Society)

It has served in various guises over the years, including a domestic house, a pot 'n' bottle off-licence and even an undertakers, each occupying a half of the premises before the building emerged as a pub.

The closure of the premises followed the sudden death in 2010 of pub landlord, chef and 'Usk institution' Tony Lyons at the age of 53, who had run the pub for 30 years.

More than 600 people attended his funeral at St Mary's Church, before his burial in Usk Castle Chase.

Conservative councillor Penny Jones, who represents Raglan, told last week's Monmouthshire County Council’s people scrutiny committee the building could be used to provide much-needed housing for “several families”.

She said she didn’t understand why the building has been left empty and without a use.

The committee was being updated on the help and support, as well as potential penalties, the council can use to bring empty homes back into use.

Cllr Jones said: “The Royal in Usk has been empty for many, many years and would be ideal for flats or a house.

“Everybody talks about it and everybody wonders why nothing has been done about it. It’s the perfect property and it could house several families. It has lots of potential.”

The council’s housing manager Ian Bakewell said his team was focused on empty homes, rather than properties which he said would be the responsibility of the council’s regeneration team, but would check what the position of the property is.