Plans to turn a Grade II listed pub into a house of multiple occupancies (HMO) have been dismissed over fears it would harm its historical nature.
Applicant Mr Rai wanted to change the former Crown and Thistle, in Gravesend town centre, into a six-bedroom home.
He proposed to demolish part of a rear extension to create a lightwell, build a bin store in the garden, replace the windows and make alterations to the inside and outside of the building.
The plans, submitted to Gravesham council in July, said the building would have two bedrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a living area on the ground floor then two bedrooms and a bathroom on each of the second and third levels.
There were also proposals to bring the garden back into use with a small patio area.
Yet, council officers have decided to refuse planning permission as they believed the plans “would be harmful to the significance and architectural and historic interest” of the Grade II listed building.
In their report, they found the plans “unacceptable” as there was “insufficient information” submitted to allow a full assessment of the impact it would have on the listed asset.
The submitted planning statement from the applicant said the building shows “deterioration externally and internally” and there is “very little left inside that is an original feature.”
It stated the only parts of value would be the pub shop front, the timber sash windows, and potentially the metal hanging sign bracket, although it looks to be modern and not old wrought iron.
Although officers agreed the site needs repairs and acknowledged the “desire to reinstate external traditional features”, they said the application does not give enough details to show there would be no harmful impact on the building.
Their report added: “The proposal would result in unsympathetic alterations. On the basis of the submitted information it must be concluded that it would be harmful to the significance and architectural and historic interest.”
Known locally as the Crown and Crumpet, the former pub in The Terrace is thought to have opened in 1859 with records showing the first landlord as Edward Sabery Colyer.
In 2003, it won CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year. It closed in April 2011 but reopened later that year before shutting again in 2015.
It has been on the market ever since but, despite being marketed by Robinson Michael Jackson Estate Agents, there have been no commercial use inquiries, according to the planning documents.
The planning statement added: “We acknowledge that the local planning authority may have a desire to see the ground floor used commercially, however, the reality – as demonstrated by the results of extensive marketing – is that there is not a demand for such use of this building.
“All the demand is as a residential property, however, this also has to be viable in view of the works required. This proposal will bring a historic building into repair.”
However, officers said there was “inadequate” evidence to show the site is “not economically viable” or could not be made so as a pub.
Other issues raised in their decision report included substandard living conditions for renters and that the secondary means of escape did not lead to a place of safety.
It was acknowledged that the HMO would make a contribution to the local need for housing but they said this did not outweigh the other issues.