A VILLAGE’S last remaining pub could now be run by members of the community after an application put forward to convert it into homes was refused.

The Anchor Inn, in Mistley, has been closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic but was acknowledged as an Asset of Community Value in October 2020.

This meant if any planning applications were given the green light the community would still have the right to bid to buy the premises to save it from being torn down.

The parish council moved to have the pub put on Tendring Council’s register after Ankerinn Ltd applied for permission to turn the popular watering hole into two homes.

Planning officers recommended the development proposal for approval, but during a planning committee meeting this week the application was refused.

The decision was made after councillors concluded that was still a need for the facility within the local area.

Charlotte Howell, chairman of Mistley Parish Council, had argued residents would have needed to travel to Manningtree to enjoy a tipple or casual meal if the pub closed.

She has now said the longstanding and historic Anchor Inn could be transformed into a community-run pub.

She said: “We would have been very disappointed to see this last public house turned into houses because our residents really need facilities such as this.

“There is a local group which has formed with the hope of turning the pub into a community pub and the parish council is fully supportive of this.

“A community pub would not only provide somewhere within walking distance for people to socialise over a pint, but it could be used to house other facilities.”

Alan Coley, Tendring councillor for Lawford, Manningtree, and Mistley, said he was pleased by the committee’s ruling.

He said: “We have seen so many pubs close within the last few years and the Anchor Inn has served the community for countless generations.

“It is the last of its kind and it would have been a tragedy to have lost it.

“I hope it remains within the community forever.”

PLANS to turn a village’s last pub into homes has been recommended for approval.

Ankerinn Ltd applied to Tendring Council for permission to turn The Anchor Inn in Mistley into two homes.

The application, which will go before the council’s planning committee tomorrow, has now been recommended for approval by its planning officers.

It will go before the committee for a decision after being called in by ward councillor Alan Coley as it is the last remaining pub in the centre of the parish.

He said the Anchor Inn is “integral to the parish and has a historical and cultural benefit”.

He added he has “great sympathy” for the situation of the licensee during the depth of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Operating a pub in these circumstances is extremely challenging,” he said.

“However, everything possible must be done to retain this facility within the community.”

Mistley Parish Council also called for the application to be refused and 14 letters of objection were also submitted.

It is hoped the pub could instead by run and managed by the community as a non-profit making organisation.

A spokesman for the parish council previously said: “Closing the pub may have an emotional effect that could seriously affect the future economy and community infrastructure with nowhere to meet and no focus for village life potentially resulting in a lessening of neighbourhood spirit and cohesion.”

“It would be such a huge shame to Mistley to lose such a well-known, and historically, a very well used establishment.

“The Anchor Inn was once the hub of village life – a place to socialise, do business or just swap stories over a pint.”

The pub was added to the council’s register of Assets of Community Value in October, which means that event of planning permission is granted the community still had the right to bid to buy the premises to retain its community use.

The developer said: “Despite the best efforts of the owner of the property over a good many years to try and establish a viable pub business at the property, it has simply not proved possible.

“In the current financial climate and given what the pub trade is like across the country, they simply don’t all survive.”

“The loss of this facility is unfortunate but its conversion to the residential use proposed will at the very least ensure the long term future maintenance of this prominent building within a designated Conservation Area and will provide two homes.”

A report by planning officers said: “Officers consider that sufficient marketing information has been submitted which demonstrates that a sustained marketing campaign has been undertaken.

“The proposed conversion to two dwellings is acceptable in terms of design and appearance, there is no harm to neighbouring amenities, the development complies with highway safety and parking provision and there is no impact upon the Conservation Area.