A RUNDOWN Furness pub which has been shut for six years can be flattened and turned into houses, council planners have ruled.

The Copper Dog on Hard Knotts Lane, Leece, had closed in mid-2013 after a brief re-opening but had struggled since 2008, a meeting was told.

Alan Grove of Leece Homes Ltd applied to South Lakeland District Council for permission to build four modern detached homes on the site.

He was represented at the planning committee meeting in Kendal by his agent David Staniland who said experts had forecast that there was no viable future in running it as a pub.

A demolition order was agreed in 2017 but two previous applications for housing had been refused and an appeal by the applicants was dismissed.

The applicant agreed to reduce the size and scale of the project in order to satisfy planning rules.

Mr Staniland said: “Compared to the previous proposals the amount of development footprint has been significantly reduced.

“My client has sought to work with officers to ensure the scheme presented to you overcomes all the previous reasons for refusal. It is noteworthy that none of the council’s statutory consultees has raised any objections.”

SLDC planning officer Mike Hoare recommended the application be approved and told councillors that the applicants could “drop” the property at any time as a result of the demolition order which remained in place until 2020.

Mr Hoare said the location of the pub deserved a “high quality” scheme and this had been achieved through negotiations with the applicant.

Planning committee member Cllr Andrew Butcher, of Ulverston, said he used to visit the pub.

“Over the years I have seen it go down, down and steadily down. It is in a state of decline now and it’s only going to get worse.

“I would like to see it up and running with people living there. I think this is a good way forward,” said Cllr Butcher, the Conservative councillor for the Furness Peninsula.

Cllr David Webster, of the Labour councillor for Ulverston East, said the pub was an “eyesore”.

“When it was opened I ate there once and that gives you an idea why it closed,” said Cllr Webster. He said: “I am in full favour of this planning application.”

There was no application from the community to have the pub designated as a community asset and Aldingham Parish Council had no objections.