THE owners of a former village pub have lost their appeal to be allowed to legally call the premises their home, despite closing the business ten years ago.

Jim and Jean Sharp, of the Red Hart at Llanvapley, near Abergavenny, were informed by the Planning Inspectorate that their appeal against Monmouthshire council’s decision to refuse granting a legal certificate to say that a change of use of the pub was lawful, was dismissed following a hearing in June.

When the pub ceased trading in 2002, locals formed the Red Hart Supporters Club and mounted a campaign to save it.

In 2004 the council refused the Sharps permission to change its use into a home, which has been lived in by four generations of the family.

In November last year, the council served an enforcement notice, ruling that areas of the bar cannot be used for residential use.

Residents claimed the ground floor was used as living space, but the family said the majority of the bar area, which had not been used as a bar for more than four years, was utilised for storage space because of limited living space upstairs.

In his decision, Mr Lloyd said the council’s decision to refuse a certificate of lawful use was ‘well-founded’.

He added that on the evidence available the change of use to a single dwelling house had not occurred and that the premises were not used as a single-dwelling house throughout the whole of the period of more than four years prior to December, 2011.

‘Building was not viable as pub’

MR SHARP, who has lived in the building since 1993, first applied to change it into a home in 2002 after the pub ceased trading. He argued the building was no longer viable as a pub. But drinkers refused to give up on the ‘hub’ of their community.

Monmouthshire council refused to grant permission to its change of use in 2004. A public inquiry was held that year, during which Mr Sharp claimed his family had been the victims of a ‘hate campaign’. The Assembly’s planning inspectorate dismissed Mr Sharp’s appeal against the council’s decision. The Red Hart Supporters Club, which attracted more than 600 backers, said it was overjoyed at the decision and dismissed Mr Sharp’s claims of a ‘hate campaign’.