Campaigners have lost a long-running battle to save their village pub – previously described as their “only community facility” – from being converted into a house.
The bitter planning wrangle finally came to a head last week when a Government Planning Inspector ruled in favour of the owners of the School House Inn, Low Marishes, near Thornton-le-Dale.
Matthew and Sarah Richardson now have permission to transform the remaining part of the pub into a four-bedroom house.
The couple had seen previous applications to transform the pub into one three-bed and one four-bed house turned down by members of Ryedale District Council who said that its development would cost the village a community facility and that more could be done to make it a viable business.
That began to change when planning permission was given to develop part of the site into a three-bedroom house while keeping the public house.
But after still being unable to find a buyer for the pub, the Richardsons submitted further plans to convert it into housing, the application which was granted on appeal last week.
In her report, Inspector Alison Partington said the main issue was whether the plans would result “in the loss of a viable community facility.”
She found in favour of the Richardsons despite campaigners arguing that the business had not been suitably marketed to potential new owners.
“It does appear that the lack of local support for the premises did contribute towards its closure and, despite the extensive marketing over the last four years, no bid from the community has been made to purchase the property,” she said.
“Overall, it is clear that the public house has now been marketed by a wide variety of means for some considerable time, in a variety of formats, by specialist licensed property agents. Despite the potential of the tourist trade within the area, this thorough marketing exercise has not been successful in attracting a purchaser for the property, which indicates that the market considers that this public house would not be commercially viable.”