New plans for flats at The Kings Arms in Ottery St Mary would see pub retained

Unused hotel rooms at The Kings Arms in Ottery St Mary could be converted into flats as part of new plans that would see the pub retained.

Fresh proposals for five homes at the town centre site have been revealed – and would mean its bar, lounge, skittle alley and toilets are kept.

A ground-floor pool room, kitchen and preparation area, and a first-floor bar and function room would make way for dwellings as part of the scheme.

Letting and staff bedrooms throughout the three-storey listed building would also be converted into flats.

Applicants Mr and Mrs Graham Hudson are also proposing to repair and refurbish the ‘semi-redundant’ pub and hotel’s exterior and rear area.

The premises, at the junction of Gold Street, Sandhill Street and Cornhill, dates back to the 18th century.

Previous bids to convert the entire building into flats have been rejected as an agreement could not be reached over ‘affordable’ housing and concern about the potential loss of employment.

The new application to East Devon District Council (EDDC) states: “In line with many similar public houses locally and nationally, the pub and hotel operation have struggled to viably operate for many years.

“Prior to the Covid-19 closedown, the pub was operating at a low level on a short-term licence, but the hotel rooms were not in use.

“This is both an issue of demand for such accommodation in a highly competitive market, exacerbated by such operations as airbnb and the long-standing building condition.

“The level of projected revenue is inadequate to service the finance required to renovate the building.

The rear of the Kings Arms in Ottery St Mary. Image: Google Maps.

The rear of the Kings Arms in Ottery St Mary. Image: Google Maps.

“Given the listed status, its deteriorating condition along with the inability of the current hotel use to provide a viable basis for the long-term renovation and maintenance of the building, it is imperative that alternative uses that can generate sufficient funds to enable proper renovation to be undertaken, is identified.

“With the current metrics of the local property market, it is believed that only residential conversion would facilitate this.

“Such building type would also fit well with the domestic scale of spaces within the building.

Four two-bedroom flats and a single one-bedroom dwelling are proposed.

Retaining a ‘functioning public house’ is described in the proposals as a ‘potentially acceptable compromise’.

The pub and hotel premises currently has nine parking spaces.

These would be utilised to provide one space per flat, two visitor bays and two for pub staff.

“The proposal will bring a redundant and derelict part of an existing listed building into effective use, ensuring its upkeep and will not cause any detrimental impact on adjoining owners or the context,” the plans add.

EDDC will decide the fate of the application.

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