A GOVERNMENT appointed planning inspector will decide later this year whether a long-standing former Somerset restaurant will be turned into housing.

Nick and Lynne Reed ran Blostins Restaurant on the B3136 Waterloo Road, in Shepton Mallet, for 38 years before retiring and shutting the business on December 16 last year.

The couple have now applied to Somerset Council to convert the now-closed restaurant into a new dwelling, which is situated beside their existing home, but were refused planning permission in February.

The Planning Inspectorate has now confirmed an appeal has been lodged over this decision, with the matter expected to be settled by the end of the year.

The restaurant building originally formed a terrace of four houses on Waterloo Road, which lies within walking distance of both the East Mendip Way and the Bath Road viaduct, where a new walking and cycling route is currently under construction.

A restaurant has been present on the site since 1976, with the Reed family taking over the business in 1985 and occupying the non-commercial part of the premises.

A spokesman for the couple said: “The Reeds have attempted to sell the business as a going concern for more than five years, without success.

“Consequently, they now wish to continue to live in their current home and convert the restaurant part to a separate dwelling for sale or rent.

“The proposed changes are internal, required in connection with the division of the property.

“No changes are proposed to the front and side elevations, other than the removal of the canopy, signs and lights at the front, and the demolition of the existing wash-up area.”

Somerset Council refused permission through the delegated powers of its planning officers, rather than a public decision by its planning committee east (which handles significant applicants in the former Mendip council area).

Mickey Green, Somerset Council’s executive director for climate and place, cited a single reason for refusing the plans: the absence of an appropriate phosphate mitigation scheme, which could lead to further damage to the Somerset Levels and Moors.

The Planning Inspectorate has confirmed that the appeal will be decided through written representations, rather than an in-person public inquiry.

To make a formal statement on the plans as part of the appeal process, visit www./acp.planninginspectorate.gov.uk and quote case number 3339086 by Wednesday, June 5.