A FORMER pub which has fallen into “major disrepair” could be transformed into a “high-end” restaurant.
A similar application was submitted last year, but the new application has been revised to address concerns raised by the council.
Boyce Associates, acting on behalf of the company behind the project, FMR, said in the application that the property, on the B3400, has fallen into “major disrepair, largely due to a lack of planned maintenance and the effects of the structure due to the age of the property.”
It added that using the building as a pub is not viable because of the “gradual demise of the pub industry.”
The building was originally a coaching house, serving journeys from Andover to London, and has a recorded historical association with Jane Austen, whose family lived in nearby Steventon.
FMR now hope to transform the property into a “high-end signature restaurant” to attract customers from neighbouring areas, while retaining a pub element to “serve as a supporting aspect to allow local residents to retain a sense of community within the village.”
The owners are said to have “extensive experience within the restaurant industry” and have turned remote locations in the countryside into “successful operations.”
Boyce Associates said that if planning permission is not granted for the extension, “the building will continue to deteriorate further and would have to return to the property market until an alternative buyer is found.”
The application added: “In the interim, the deterioration is likely to lead to concerns over structural stability of the premises and certain parts of the building may require demolition.” The building already has a leaking roof, perished walling and rising damp.
The application lists the changes that have been made to the previous application, which include a reduction in height of the extension to “retain a more conservative design to the building”; removal of a mezzanine floor; reducing the number of covers from 177 to 96, which would reduce the impact to the highway; and a reduction in the number of parking spaces.
A statement from FMR said: “Our ambition is to revive the Deane Gate Inn into a niche socialising venue, while retaining its heritage. The project aims to restore this historic landmark location to its former grandeur with necessary upgrades and features to keep it in tune with current times and customer needs.”