A POPULAR pub may be staying in the village of Ampney St Peter after councillors at Cotswold District Council refused an application to turn the pub into a house.

The district council’s planning committee refused the change of use on the grounds that it would be a loss of a community asset and that there was no evidence that a pub would not be viable in the village.

During a planning meeting on Wednesday, April 12, case officer Christopher Fleming pointed out that there were other pubs surrounding The Red Lion which villagers could get to.

But David Fowles, the councillor representing the area, said: “The Red Lion is not just a pub surrounded by other pubs. It is the fabric of the community.

“We cannot lend weight to the pub’s accounts because the owner ran it as a hobby, not working long hours.”

It is estimated that the property would sell for £350,000 as a pub and £600,000 as a home.

Cllr Fowles added: “The pub is a phenomenal asset. While I respect applicant’s desire to get as much money as possible, that is not why we are here.”

Cllr Mark Harris agreed with the ward member saying: “I really think once these amenities are gone, they are gone, you will never get it back.”

He made reference to the Cote Brasserie premises in Cirencester which had been considered for change of use and which was now operating successfully as a restaurant in Black Jack Street.

Cllr Juliet Layton said: “I think it is vitally important that we keep it. We are here to keep it in the community.

“It was a parlour pub so we cannot close on the grounds that he did not want to make shed loads of money.”

Cllr Patrick Coleman argued that the premises could still be run as a pub even if The Red Lion did not make much profit: “If you run something as a hobby, you do not have a marketing plan.

“No one had a chance to run this as a business. Why should not this council say we will give somebody the chance to run this pub?

“This one can be saved. I am sure of that. We have not got the evidence we need to destroy this community asset.”

Cllr Sue Coakley did not agree: “If this was the Falcon Inn in Poulton, I would be banging the drums.

“We heard that this was run as a hobby, so it is not sustainable. The only way to sustain it is to run it as a gourmet restaurant.”