CONTROVERSIAL plans to convert a pub into a home will go before government inspectors.

Patrick Langdown, director of Dorset Flint and Stone Blocks Limited, has taken the fight to renovate The Plough in Longparish into a five-bedroom home to the Planning Inspectorate.

Mr Langdown submitted the application in June last year, but it was refused by Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) saying the plan “would erode the character of this historic village by virtue of the loss of an historic community facility”.

Planning chiefs also criticised Mr Langdown, claiming that he had supplied insufficient information and justification that the pub could no longer be used.

A statement submitted on behalf of the appeal said that after the inn was on the market for 11 months, only one offer was received, from Mr Langdown, which “demonstrates emphatically that the use of the Plough Inn as a public house is commercially unviable, and there is no need for the property for another commercial use”.

It added: “Whilst the community’s desire to see the pub use retained is commendable, no offers have been made for its purchase and no proof has been provided to demonstrate any future continuation of the pub use can be commercially viable.”

The decision to appeal has been called “frustrating” by The Plough Ahead Group, which aims to save the pub from conversion, who say that they will submit a credible business plan to the inspector.

Andy Jolliffe, from Plough Ahead, said: “It is frustrating in that it is a delay. We can’t get on and do anything until that process is completed. While the owner still feels he can get permission he isn’t going to engage in any meaningful discussions.”

The group say it has received specialist advice confirming that there is no reason why The Plough should not succeed if run as an independent free house.

The fight to save the pub has become even more important as it was announced in trade press earlier this month that Wadworth is selling 15 of its pubs, including The Cricketers Inn in Longparish, as a going concern.

People will now have the chance to comment on the application before a hearing will take place. To have a say search for ‘APP/C1760/W/19/3221040’ on the Planning Inspectorate website.