A vacant Yorkshire village pub will be demolished and the land used for housing – against the recommendation of council officers.
The Royal Oak Inn, in Hirst Courtney, will be knocked down and replaced with seven homes after Thomas Devanny submitted a planning application to Selby District Council.
Hirst Courtney and West Bank Parish Council has described the pub, which has been closed since 2015, as an “eyesore” and backed Mr Devanny’s plans.
A provisional layout for the new development shows three homes on the street frontage, with another four properties behind in the car park.
Council officers said the latest application had seen the number of homes reduced from nine to seven, but said the plan should still be refused because a large area of the site was outside Hirst Courtney’s development limits and because it would represent an “undue visual intrusion into the open countryside”.
They also said not enough evidence had been provided to show that the building could not be retained as an asset for the community.
“In addition the asking price of £600k seems a high value for a site which is not operating and requires investment,” their report added.
Cllr Bob Packham said: “It is clearly contrary to policy – it’s outside the development limits.
“You can see quite clearly that the car park is considerably beyond the rear building line of the housing on the frontage.”
Mr Devanny’s agent Sam Dewar said: “The applicant has tried profusely to sell the site as a going concern. However, despite reducing the asking price significantly over the last four years, he has been unable to do so.
“The cost of bringing the site back into use and public house will be in excess of £300,000 – it’s not something that my client can afford.”
Other pubs thriving
The parish council also said the homes would “enhance the village” and would bring new residents to the community.
Backing the proposal, Cllr Charles Richardson said: “The community of Hirst Courtney, West Bank and Temple Hirst is made of about 250 to 300 residents and within that community there are three licensed premises within a mile – all competing for the same catchment area.
“Since this pub ceased trading almost a decade ago, another licensed premises has emerged and is thriving, and the other pub, The Sloop Inn, has also gone from strength to strength.
“I’m personally satisfied that there is no loss to amenity in that community in this instance.”