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Listed village pub could be turned into housing
VILLAGERS in Downton could permanently lose a historic listed pub if plans to turn it into housing get the go ahead.
Proposals have been submitted to change The Kings Arms in Downton’s High Street into two three-bedroom houses but some locals say the new owner is just looking to make a “quick buck” and it could still be a viable business.
The pub is a Grade II listed building and has been a public house for more than 300 years, although records date back to 1628.
The pub closed down after Enterprise Inns said it was no longer viable and sold it to Carolyn Sutcliffe last summer.
She wants permission for a change of use from public house to dwellings, to demolish part of the building and to add two extensions.
Paul Stevens Architecture says they have referred “diligently” to a historic building survey carried out by Wiltshire Building Records throughout the design process to ensure they “respect the historic fabric of the building”.
The application documents say the pub is not needed as the village has three other pubs – the Wooden Spoon, which is also on High Street, the White Horse on The Borough and The Bull on the Salisbury to Ringwood road.
The design statement said: “The previous landlord failed to make a success of the inn, as did his predecessor, and in its last few years as a pub it became very unpopular in the village for attracting noisy and unruly cliental.”
But Downton resident Paul Charity said the pub was run down by the brewery over several years and they made it impossible for a landlord to make it viable, but it could be profitable if it was run as a freehold.
Mr Charity said: “We have lost far too many amenities in the village. This pub has always been a key element of village life and is now looking doomed to filling an individual’s pockets at the expense of another village amenity.”
He and other residents in the village are determined to fight the proposals and plan to speak against them at a parish council meeting on Monday.
The application has received a letter of support from another resident, Claire Freemantle, who says the change of use is “long overdue” as the pub has struggled since she moved to the village in 1998.
Public consultation for the application ends on March 6 and a decision is expected to be made by March 27.