AN application to turn an historic pub into a private residence has met with dozens of objections from residents.

Proprietors of the 700-year-old Shave Cross Inn, Mel and Roy Warburton, have applied for a change of use for the building, currently a pub and restaurant.

Councillors are set to discuss the issue at a meeting of the West Dorset District Council planning committee on Thursday, July 10.

But the proposal is facing a tide of objection, with West Dorset MP Oliver Letwin and almost 40 residents asking the district council to refuse permission. Mr Letwin said: “We need to do whatever we can to preserve rural pubs in West Dorset.

“They serve an important social purpose. This is why parish councils have the ability to identify them as assets of community value, and it is also why I have taken the step of objecting to this particular change of use.”

And Upper Marshwood Vale councillors also refused to grant approval to the plans.

Parish councillor Ali Cameron said residents and the council discussed the issue at a meeting on Friday, June 27.

He said: “Feelings based on the historic value of the iconic pub, the amenity value to the community of Marshwood Vale, the effect on many farmhouse and holiday cottage businesses were combined with sympathy for the difficult trading conditions the owners face.”

The history of the building, as well as its role in providing a social place for residents, the Young Farmers Club and the skittle team, are among the reasons people are objecting to the plans.

Mr T Macdonald, of Broadoak, described it as a ‘vital facility to the local community’.

George Rendell, who lives in Shave Cross, said the pub is ‘one of Dorset’s rarest jewels’ and ‘is steeped in history’.

When contacted by the Bridport and Lyme Regis News, Mr and Mrs Warburton did not respond to a request for comment.