Plans have been lodged to convert a village pub into a three-bedroom house.

Owners of the 13th century, thatched Coach and Horses in Buckland Brewer are looking to convert the pub in the heart of the village following a ‘decline in demand’.

The existing pub, which includes a restaurant area and pool room, would be converted into a lounge, kitchen-diner, office and dayroom, with three upstairs bedrooms.

The pub’s skittle alley would be converted into a one-bedroom annexe with a lounge and kitchen.

A design and access statement for the application said continued use as a public house is ‘no longer justified’.

It said: “The Coach and Horses is no longer commercially viable and can no longer be retained as a financially sustainable business proposition.

“Ultimately, its continued use as a public house is no longer justified.

“The property has been found to be unsuitable to be retained as a pub, henceforth a preferable alternative is the proposed conversion to a useful and much needed housing opportunity.”

The design and access statement said the Grade II listed property and business have been for sale for a number of years, and despite numerous works to the gardens, thatch roof, toilet facilities and kitchen, no offers have been submitted.

The statement, from agent Andrew Thomas, said: “My clients have not wanted to close the pub and have tried various options to boost income over the years and keep the pub viable.

“The financial strain is exacerbated as the pub is a 13th century cob and thatch-built property which requires a huge amount of maintenance.”

A holiday cottage was developed on the site in 2003 to subsidise the pub’s income, but that had to be sold in 2019 to generate some of the money for renovation works.

The statement said the construction of Buckland Brewer Village Hall was a ‘relevant factor’ in the pub’s decline in business.

It said: “The construction of the nearby village hall, which has an alcohol licence, kitchen and parking for a vast number of cars is certainly a relevant factor regarding village facilities.

“As such, the village hall is also able to sell alcohol in direct competition and at a discount to The Coach and Horses, thus affecting turnover.”

It added: “The Coach and Horses has never been a community pub, in the sense that it is supported by the community. This is not a village pub, more a pub in a village.”