A DORSET pub has been refused permission to knock down six holiday cottages in its grounds – building three family homes in their place.

It argued that the proceeds from the sale would have helped the pub’s viability.

Dorset Council refused consent for the application site to the rear of the Grade 2 listed Langton Arms at Tarrant Monkton, an application which would have retained the pub which continues to trade.

Planning consultant, Darryl Howells, acting for the business said the B&B accommodation to the rear of the pub was single-storey and arranged in a courtyard style. Each has three bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, but was now dated and seldom let.

He said the new homes would also be three-bedroom, one detached and the other two semi-detached made of brick with timber weatherboard cladding and timber windows and doors, their sale helping to support the pub.

Said the agent in his submission to Dorset Council: “The current owner of the pub advises that they have weathered many an economic storm, but after almost 30 years of having the B&B pub rooms of limited occupation, there is now a need to inject and restructure the business in a different way to survive. If there is not a change to the business model the pub will be under threat of closure…the B&B accommodation is not booked out frequently and is not generating sufficient income to enable the continuation of the pub in the current situation.

“The B&B rooms have become a non-profitable part of the pub business, the footfall and occupancy rates do not justify the cost of maintenance and upkeep of the buildings, replacing and updating the soft furnishings, the energy to heat and light the rooms and the staff needed to service them.”

Mr Howell said the income from the sale of the land for housing would enable the pub business to invest, fund ongoing maintenance and continue to operate viably.

Among the objections to the proposed new homes was one which claimed the new properties would be an over-development of the site, much taller and larger than the 1986 consent for the B&B units which the objector said should be renovated rather than demolished.

Another argued that the new homes would cause “irretrievably harm the character of the Conservation Area and AONB,” and would be “entirely at odds with the prevailing vernacular style in the village; being suburban rather than rural in character.”

The parish council objected on similar grounds, asking Dorset Council to reject the application, while the Cranborne Chase National Landscape team said it was concerned at the loss of tourism accommodation which, in turn, was likely to further affect the profitability of the pub business.

A Dorset Council planning case officer, in deciding against the application, said it was not accepted that the removal of the holiday lets would help the long-term viability of the pub and that the application had failed to prove an ‘overriding need’ for the new homes in the countryside, contrary to planning policies.

The report was also critical of the design, layout and materials for the new homes and their impact on the village Conservation Area and said the use of the site where there was no public transport and few facilities was ‘unsustainable.’