PLANS to convert a village pub into housing have been withdrawn after an overwhelming response from residents.

We previously reported how owners Giuseppe and Julie Giuliano, who have run the Wagon Wheel at Grimley for more than three decades, want to retire and convert the pub into housing.

They have been trying to sell it since 2014 but have been unable to find anyone to take it on as a pub.

Under the latest plans, part of the pub and restaurant would have been demolished to make way for two new homes despite the council rejecting similar proposals several times in the last couple of years.

Planning documents state how the owners had appealed against it being marked as an "asset of community value".

But they have now withdrawn their application.

A letter from one of the council's planning officers explained the decision, saying: "I have had further conversations with the applicant and he is now minded to withdraw this application pending the outcome of the appeal against asset of community value listing.

"Please accept this email as formal confirmation to withdraw."

Reaction to the plan was mixed, with many residents objecting to the village losing a pub and restaurant for homes.

However, several other objectors to previous plans said they were not against the pub being converted into housing but opposed the design.

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.”