A petition has been launched to save a pub described as a valuable community asset from development.

A planning application has been submitted to change the Mole in Monk Sherborne into a private home.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council's planning officer will be submitting its recommendation for approval, according to ward member Cllr Tristan Robinson.

He has set up a petition campaigning to save the public house with the ambition of reaching 5,000 signatures.

Already, more than 200 have signed up in opposition. 

Writing on Change.org, Cllr Robinson said: "The Mole in Monk Sherborne is an incredibly valuable community asset, but in recent months it has been closed, and subject to an application for conversion into a private home. 

"Unfortunately, the case officer will be recommending the application for approval so I am asking for your support to help overturn this decision at the development control committee on October 7. 

"Monk Sherborne is a small village and The Mole itself is a valuable community asset, which until recently was registered as an asset of community value. It provides a hub for our small community and gives local people the ability to meet with friends and family within the village. When it was last open in 2017, it was initially well-run, but then clearly set up to fail, with offers of local support from the community declined. 

"The application is also misleading, in that it says the pub is unviable as a business and there are no interested parties for management. If you check the land Registry Title (as I have), you can see that the applicant has already signed a lease with an enthusiastic tenant who is keen to revive the pub as a family business. This is demonstrated by the work that has been undertaken at the pub since the lease was signed to tidy up the outside, and prepare for use once again. The applicant also claims there is no local need, when the opposite is demonstrated by the levels of support from local residents and the Parish Council on the planning portal. 

"The application falls foul of Local Plan policies CN7 and the Planning Policy officer highlights that the application "has not adequately justified the loss of this community asset". Further, the Historic Environment team state that "the proposed development would result in harm to the character of the Monk Sherborne Conservation Area, due to the loss of vitality of that area. The proposals would therefore cause harm to the significance of the Conservation Area. The proposals would therefore be in conflict with Section 16 of the National Planning Policy Framework, Policy EM11 of the Basingstoke and Deane Local Plan 2011-2029 and Principle CA01 of the Heritage SPD."

"We have had recent success in Monk Sherborne with the refusal of planning at Land South of Ramsdell Road, which was only possible due to the support of the village. With your support, we can save our pub too, so please sign the petition."

Cllr Robinson represents Charter Alley, Monk Sherborne, Ramsdell, Sherborne St John, West Heath and Wootton St Lawrence.

Dozens have already signed the petition, citing their support for the cause.

Matthew McDonald wrote: "I believe that The Mole should remain as a public house to service the needs of the local community and surrounding areas."

While Aaron Minter put: "With the right management and a good landlord, this pub could flourish. The village community are keen for it to return to its former glory." 

  • Visit the petition, here