A PUB owner has lost his battle to convert his inn into a house after a planning inspector dismissed his appeal.

Terry Windmill had applied to Herefordshire Council for permission to change the use of the Lamb Inn at Stoke Prior to that of a four-bedroom home.

But the council rejected the proposals because it felt there was insufficient evidence that the pub was not a viable business and could not continue to meet community needs.

Mr Windmill then contested this decision and the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local scheduled an appeal hearing at Hereford’s Town Hall on January 23.

Inspector Andrew Owen was not convinced that the closed pub was unviable.

“The submitted business appraisal states that for the first full financial year that the pub was operated by the appellants there was a loss of around £30,000,” he said.

“For the following year the loss was approximately £19,000 and for the six months to September 2017, a loss of roughly £10,000 was made.”

However, he said Mr Windmill’s own income and expenditure accounts for the same period showed a loss of around £6,000 and then a small net profit of around £4,000 and finally a profit of about £1,600.

“The appellant could not explain these discrepancies to me at the hearing,” he said.

“Because of the lack of precision on the 2012 figures, the discrepancies on the more recent accounts and the failure to substantiate the fair maintainable trade figure, I cannot consider the pub is unviable.”

“In summary, I consider that it has not been demonstrated that the property could not be used for an alternative community use, that it is unviable, and that there are other alternative comparable facilities to serve the community.

He said the loss of this community facility had not been satisfactorily justified and did not comply with planning policies.