THE owners of a Taunton pub breached planning rules by bricking up a doorway and part of a window of the listed premises.

The EL Group, which owns the Vivary Arms, in Wilton Street, have now applied to Somerset West and Taunton Council for retrospective permission for the work.

A report accompanying the application says: "Since focusing more on food trade the kitchen demand has increased vastly, resulting in the

necessity to increase the size of the kitchen and alter its layout to make it a more productive and pleasurable environment to produce food.

"Given the main focus on food trade, the original impractical kitchen layout needed alteration to cope with the increased demand.

"By relocating the cook line onto the right hand external wall, the kitchen has become a more practical and efficient workplace for staff.

"In order to relocate the kitchen onto the right hand external wall the original service door opening onto Fons George lane required blocking up."

The report adds that the door in question has not been used for several years as its location is seen as "unsafe and impractical".

The window adjacent to the door opening was partially blocked up to accommodate an air intake fan, necessary for providing fresh air into the kitchen.

It says: "Whilst works have naturally changed the appearance of right hand side elevation, the new brick infill has been painted to match the existing walls with the aim of reducing the visual impact of the alteration.

"It should be appreciated that the elevation in question is not the main façade of the building and the in-filled door opening could not be safely utilised for access given its impractical location and high threshold.

"Access to, from and around the site will not be affected by the proposed works as the original door opening onto Fons George lane couldn’t be safely utilised."