PLANS to convert a former pub into a house in a Cumbrian village are set to be turned down as the proposals would lead to the ‘loss of the only remaining potential local community facility’.

Members of Eden local area planning committee for Westmorland and Furness Council are recommended to refuse a planning application to convert the vacant Belah Bridge Inn, into a three-bedroom house.

The vacant pub is described as a ‘fairly substantial building’ and is located in Brough Sowerby off the A685 which connects the M6 and the A66.

A report by planning officers concludes: “The proposed change of use from public house to a private dwelling would cause the loss of the only remaining potential local community facility / rural resource in Brough Sowerby.

“The evidence submitted is deemed insufficient in demonstrating that the site has been successfully marketed beyond November 2019, and that the property could not be taken forward in the future as a commercial undertaking in the hands of suitable custodians.

“Its loss to housing would invoke the permanent removal of a prominent and long-established public house with the potential to help sustain the social quality of the area, and reducing sustainability within the locale as there are no alternative facilities within everyday walking distance.”

In planning documents, the applicants say it has been ‘heartbreaking’ not to be able to pass the business onto a new team and have it stand empty.

A statement from the applicant adds: “Unfortunately, no matter how hard you work during the Summer in this area, it is increasingly challenging to pull you through the winter lull.

"The Belah Bridge Inn has stood empty for 5 years now and it would be a shame for it to continue, sadly if it remains empty it will be problematic for us to sustain the building.”

The plans have received five letters of objections with one stating a village pub is at the ‘very heart’ of any community.

Plans to convert the vacant pub into a house were previously refused in May 2023 and this application was submitted after an application to list the property as an asset of community value was refused.

Brough Sowerby Parish have objected to the proposals and state aside from Kirkby Stephen itself, the Belah Bridge Inn is the only Public House on the route from the A1 at Scotch Corner to the M6 at Tebay

“Consequently, the opportunity for the public house to develop business from vehicular traffic is not to be underestimated”, the parish state in planning documents.

The parish council add: “Following the submission of this application, the parish has met and has discussed further the opportunity to acquire the public house and run it as a community asset.

“This is a meaningful change in the position of the Parish, and we are now progressing with a business plan to take this forward.”

Members of Eden local area planning committee will discuss the application on May 8 at Penrith Town Hall.