Fire-hit village pub to be turned into a house

Wollaston, The Boot Inn - fire at thatched pub on High St Firefighters attended 'Friday, 15 April 2011
Wollaston, The Boot Inn - fire at thatched pub on High St Firefighters attended 'Friday, 15 April 2011

A village pub which was devastated by fire last year is set to be converted into a house as the owners say it is no longer viable as a drinking spot.

The Boot Inn in High Street, Wollaston, was gutted by a blaze in April last year. Since the fire the building has been returned to its original condition with a new thatched roof.

Now plans have been put forward to convert the Grade II Listed pub into a home.

Objections to the plans have been sent to the council from six residents who say the pub used to be the hub of the village and that it would be a shame to change the building after it had been a pub for so long.

Applicant Alex Bourne says he acquired the pub in 2010 and planned to run it as a going concern but, for various reasons, the pub is no longer viable.

He says the village is “overpopulated” with licensed premises, including The Cuckoo in High Street, The Crispin Arms in Hinwick Road and The Wollaston Inn in London Road.

Mr Bourne said The Boot had changed hands “at least six times” over the past decade, and said: “This is a clear indication that the pub has not been sustainable as a business for some years.”

He said that renovation work after the fire found the building was “suffering far more than we had estimated” and, while its structural integrity was now good, it did not lend itself to continued commercial use.

The papers say if the conversion to a home were to go ahead it would provide “a highly attractive and spacious dwelling”.

In papers on the application Mr Bourne said: “In summary it is clear that the Boot Inn is no longer viable as a business and would better serve the community as much-needed residential housing.

“The decline in the British pub trade is a national trend – not one that can be reversed by the use of unsuitable premises.”

Natalie Standen, of Feastfield Close, Wollaston, said: “It’s a lovely building, it would be a bit of a shame. When we first moved to Wollaston they did a little music festival in the garden there, it’s got a lot of land.”

Sam Weedy, of Wollaston, said: “It was a great atmosphere every time you went in there.”