A DORSET pub which has been closed for four years is to be converted into a three-bed home.

Over a decade various landlords struggled to make the business viable and estate agents failed to find a buyer prepared to take it on as going concern.

Now Dorset Council has now agreed that the Fountain Inn at Breach Lane, Enmore Green, Shaftesbury is unviable as a business and can be converted to a home.

The pub, a Grade 2 listed building, is within the conservation area.

Both Shaftesbury town council and the ward councillor Derek Beer raised no objection to the change, Cllr Beer saying he believed the conversion to a home was the only way to save the building.

Only one letter from the public objected to the proposed change in use: “For many years The Fountain Pub has been an integral part of the community here in Enmore Green, under its previous owners it was both busy and profitable… since it has been empty no attempt has been made to open it so the owner should not be able to claim it is a nonviable business. Any change of use would mean an irreversible loss to Enmore Green and the town in particular.”

Another letter writer supported the conversion saying that in the days of horse and cart he could understand the use of the pub as a ‘pit stop’ but a pub now seemed out of character for the peaceful feel of Enmore Green with the next nearest pub, the Ship Inn, only a short distance away.

Permission had been granted in 2019 to add a conservatory so the business could provide additional space for diners, but it was never built.

Said a council report: “businesses such as the Fountain Inn no longer have to compete with just the pub around the corner, the competition is now from coffee shops and cafes, garden centres and supermarkets. The location, away from the main hub of Shaftesbury, would be seen by any publican as a challenge to creating and maintaining trade and the size of the building is not such that a substantial turnover can be pertained…it is considered that it has been demonstrated that the property is no longer commercially viable and cannot be made commercially viable.”