A LONG-RUNNING village pub and restaurant will not be allowed to be converted into homes after an appeal was thrown out by a government inspector.

Plans to close the Wagon Wheel in Grimley near Worcester and build three homes were rejected by the council last year over fears it would result in the village losing a valuable facility.

Owners Giuseppe and Julie Giuliano looked to have the decision overturned by the government's planning inspectorate but despite a hearing finding the restaurant was not a 'community asset' it still threw out the appeal.

Government planning inspector Gareth Thomas determined the Wagon Wheel was not a community asset but could not overturn the decision saying there was a risk of flooding and the homes would be out-of-character for the village.

Mr and Mrs Giuliano told the hearing in September that the pub and restaurant had been up for sale for six years and had only attracted two viewings.

Malvern Hills District Council had made a late request for extra money to offset the lack of affordable housing in the plan which was criticised by Mr and Mrs Giuliano.

Planning inspector Mr Thomas added the homes would be "out-of-keeping, harmful and discordant" to the character of Grimley if they were allowed to be built and would not be a "positive addition."

A statement included in the planning application said: “The present owners of the Wagon Wheel have built the business since their ownership began over 31 years ago.

“They are experienced restaurateurs and the Wagon Wheel has operated successfully as a restaurant but not as a traditional pub.

“Very little trade has been achieved from the pub/drinks side of the business. In recent years the restaurant trade has also suffered as a result of the growth in the sector of chain pubs offering discounted food. Mr and Mrs Giuliano are now of retirement age and have sought to sell the business actively since 2014.”

Planners at Malvern Hills District Council rejected the plans in July last year because it said the restaurant and pub was a “valued community facility” which would not be replaced in Grimley if it closed.

The council added that despite the owners trying to sell the restaurant, they had not shown that it could not stay open as a restaurant and the new homes would be out-of-character for the village.