The appellants maintained that there would be little harm to the listed building because the conversion would make only limited changes to its fabric. The inspector, however, noted that the special interest of listed buildings goes beyond the physical features identified in their listings, which are primarily for identification purposes. He agreed with the findings of the submitted heritage asset statement, that the pub had additional historic and community value. Evidence of some minor interruptions in pub use for alternatives such as a donkey sanctuary did not alter his conclusion that the proposal would fail to preserve the special interest of the listed building and cause substantial harm.
The condition of the building did not put it at immediate risk and renovation was not a public benefit. Applying the four tests of NPPF paragraph 133, the inspector found only the fourth test failed due to the current use as a family home and bed and breakfast, but overall an absence of substantial public benefit did not justify the residential conversion and loss of historic interest.
Inspector: Roger Catchpole; Written representations