Last orders at the Kings Arms?

AN ICONIC Ottery pub looks set to close as a planning proposal to convert it into flats is submitted to the Town Council.

AN ICONIC Ottery pub looks set to close as a planning proposal to convert it into flats is submitted to the Town Council.

The King’s Arms Hotel, in Gold Street, has had an application put in to create eight apartments in the listed premises. Plans will be reviewed at the Council meeting on Monday, January 24, but the wording of the application indicates a confidence that both planning permission and Listed Building’s Consent will be approved.

A previous application for conversion to flats was approved in 2003, but the owner, Graham Hudson, decided to keep the premises open as a pub, but the newly-proposed scheme is identical to the one previously approved and there has been no material change in policy, making it seem likely plans will be approved.

The plans will create seven two-bedroom flats and one three-bedroom flat, with four on the ground floor, two on the first floor and one flat on both the second and third floors. The application explains, in the adverse economic climate, the building cannot generate the finance to fund the renovation work needed to repair the fire damage and restore the upstairs rooms, if it retains its current use as a public house.

The application also states that changes in fire and disabled access regulation have pushed up the cost to restore the upper floors to a function room and hotel, leaving them no alternative but to convert the premises into flats to cover the cost of renovation, and secure the property’s future.

The design and access statement submitted promises the conversion will involve minimal alteration to the exterior of the pub and the façade will remain intact, including replacing ground floor windows with double hung sash windows.

The applicant believes his plans reduce the risk to a heritage asset and is the best use for long-term conservation in accordance with the report by the council’s Conservation Officer from the original application, which states the best way of securing maintenance of historic buildings is to ensure they’re put to good use.


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