Casebook: Appeal cases - Housing: conversion - Loss of pub denied on community grounds

The conversion of a former pub in a small south Wales village to residential use has been rejected on the grounds that it would lead to the loss of an important community facility.

The pub had closed in 2002 and the appellant claimed that it was not economically profitable to reopen the business, given the small local population and decline in tourist numbers. The council claimed that the appellant had received offers for the property from people prepared to operate a pub business but they had been dissuaded by an inflated asking price.

The inspector noted that the pub had operated for almost 360 years and had featured importantly in the social and community life of the village.

While accepting that the failure of the business might possibly be an inevitable consequence of national and local trends besetting the licensed trade, particularly in rural areas, he was unable to conclude that its conversion to a dwelling should be sanctioned yet.

He conceded that the prospects for new owners were unfavourable, but suggested that this was subject to constant change and to the skill and commitment of the publican. While the appellant might not be able to successfully reopen the pub, he reasoned, this did not mean that others would be equally unsuccessful and consequently permanent loss of the premises was unjustified.

DCS No: 33946895; Inspector: Bob Gardener; Inquiry.

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