COUNCILLORS will decide if work carried out at a listed pub can remain after the owners breached planning rules.

A window and a door were bricked up at the Vivary Arms, Taunton, without the necessary consent.

The EI Group, which owns the Grade II premises in Wilton Street, has applied to Somerset West and Taunton Council for retrospective permission for the work, which includes the incorporation of an intake vent.

Since a similar application was refused towards the end of last year, discussions have been held with a planning enforcement officer and a conservation officer to remedy the situation.

As a result, the previously bricked up opening has been replaced with reconstituted bricks and the jointing has been altered to reduce the visual impact.

A statement to planners on behalf of EI says: "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. (This original service door has not been utilised for several years given its unsafe and impractical location).

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

The applicant concedes that the works already carried out have changed the appearance of the building, but feels this has been compensated for by match painting with the existing walls.

The statement adds: "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."