Plans to demolish an empty pub and replace it with up to 10 new homes have been rejected by councillors. Planning permission has been sought to replace the Boslowick Inn in Falmouth with the new accommodation.

However, when the plans were presented to the Cornwall Council Sub-Area Central Planning Committee this morning, the request was refused. Councilors said they were concerned about the loss of the pub and a historic asset.

Council planning officers had recommended the plans be approved, saying attempts to sell the pub as a going concern had attracted no offers. They also told the committee that they had given weight to the provision of new homes during the current housing crisis.

Read more: Plans to replace pub with ‘unacceptable’ homes

Falmouth Town Council had opposed the request and Councilor John Spargo said ‘the loss of the pub is unacceptable as it is the only pub in the area’. He added that “it is a heritage asset that must be preserved”.

A planning officer, speaking on behalf of the OPO Development candidates, said it was a brownfield site in Falmouth and pointed out that Falmouth City Council had previously said it was a priority to use these sites for housing instead of green sites.

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He said the applicants had considered converting the pub building into accommodation, but said there was opposition to developments which would be used as student accommodation or as multiple occupancy houses (HMOs).

Cornwall local councilor Alan Jewell, who stepped down as chair of the planning committee when the application was considered, said he agreed with the objections raised by council.

He said: “My main problem is the building. The building is a renowned building in the area and I think the building is worth keeping.

Cllr Jewell said if the building could be kept it could be converted into one bedroom apartments ‘not for students but for locals’.

He also said he believed the pub could be a viable business and said he remembered going there and would be “absolutely impacted”. He added: “I still think it could be run like a pub. It used to be rammed in the early 80s.”

During the debate, emphasis was placed on the heritage status of the building which was originally an 18th century mansion. There had been claims that the building’s mahogany panels were from an ocean liner, but a specialist said that may not be the case.

The building was not listed and had been described as an undesignated heritage property. Conservation officers had said the loss of the building might be against planning policy; planning officers said it had been considered, but they considered the building’s significance to be “relatively minor”.

Committee member Michael Bunney moved that the application be denied due to loss of community and heritage property. The motion was seconded by John Fitter.

Cllr Bunney said he would be more supportive of the plans if they were to convert the building into accommodation, but said he could not support its demolition.

The commission accepted to refuse the planning permission with seven votes for, one against and one abstention.

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