‘Eyesore’ pub to be transformed into new houses

Alterations will be carried out to the former Smiths Arms to turn it into housing.
Alterations will be carried out to the former Smiths Arms to turn it into housing.

Time has finally been called on a village pub after plans to convert it into homes were approved.

The former Smiths Arms in Greatham has been closed for some time after various people tried to make it a successful business.

But it is set to be turned into housing after planning permission was granted by Hartlepool Borough Council.

Applicant Terry Bates has gained approval to turn the former pub in High Street into two self-contained houses, along with two semi-detached homes to the side by demolishing an existing extension.

Council officers recommended the plan be rejected because of the loss of a window from a building classed as a local heritage asset.

It was also felt the design of the new development would harm Greatham Conservation area.

But councillors on the Planning Committee disagreed and said the building had become an eyesore and the proposal would bring into use.

Councillor Ray Martin-Wells said: “We have got a developer who has bought this site and wants to do something with it.

“It is an eyesore and a blot on the landscape of the village that I represent.

“For the sake of changing one window in a building that’s not listed as I know it I don’t see the problem.”

Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher said attempts to make the Smiths Arms a success as a pub had unfortunately not worked.

He said: “It’s always sad when a pub closes and becomes empty. It has unfortunately become a blot on the landscape.

“I think it is fitting with what the council is trying to do to address derelict buildings in this town.

“I think what has been proposed here is a sensible way forward to deal with a derelict building.”

The committee heard the area of High Street where the building is situated is mainly residential with local village amenities being further south.

Objections included the appearance and design of the proposal, and prominence of the site within the conservation area.