THE owners of a historic town pub have been told they cannot convert the disused skittle alley into two rooms to let.

A planning application for the change of use and conversion of the alley at The Bear Inn, Wiveliscombe, was turned down by Somerset Council.

Liquid Brighton Ltd wanted to carry out work to create two ensuite bedrooms to boost the business and attract people to the town.

But the development control manager under delegated powers ruled it could contribute to pollution on the Somerset Levels and Moors.

READ MORE: Bear Inn planning application.

The application said the skittle alley had not been used for a number of years.

It added: "The space that has previously been utilised as a skittle alley has been unused as such for several years.

"It is essentially ‘dead space’ within our business.

"We get many requests for accommodation that we can currently not accommodate.

"By making use of this space as two spacious letting-rooms we will be not only improving the offering of our business but will also help bring more visitors to the town itself.

"The conversion will provide two new employment opportunities."

The application was supported by Wiveliscombe Town Council.

But Somerset Council has blocked the proposal, saying: "The proposed development has the potential to adversely affect the integrity of the Somerset Levels and Moors Ramsar site by adding to the concentration of phosphates in an area where they are already excessive.

"In the absence of sufficient technical information evidencing the level of phosphates generated by the development, and sufficient mitigation measures, if any, to demonstrate that phosphate neutrality can be achieved, the local planning authority, through an appropriate assessment, is unable to conclude beyond all reasonable scientific doubt that the proposed development would not have an adverse effect on the

integrity of the Ramsar site."