PLANS for holiday chalets and an extension have been approved for one of the area's most historic and best-known pubs.

The Tunnel House at Coates near Cirencester closed in September 2020 with managers saying they were 'unable to come to an agreement with the landlords to enable us to continue trading'.

On Wednesday, the Bathurst Estate was been granted permission by Cotswold District Council for a single storey extension to both the pub and the barn.

The proposals also include use of nearby land to place six modular holiday pods which could be rented out for between £125 and £200 a night. 

The initial proposals included outdoor hot tubs but these have since been removed.

The applicant says the inn has been vacant for about two years and the proposals are vital to reopen the pub which would provide jobs for up to 20 people.

But some residents along with Rodmarton Parish Council objected to the proposals over concerns the chalets will hurt the area of outstanding natural beauty, disrupt the tranquillity of the area and impact the nearby grade II-listed Thames and Severn Canal.

A Rodmarton Parish Council spokesperson told the committee the proposals would have a disastrous visual impact in the area and called on them to reject the scheme.

He said there was no financial justification in the public domain to prove the need for this accommodation to enable the functioning of what used to be a popular pub.

“There are clearly alternative ways to provide accommodation in a more sympathetic and sustainable way.”

Jacqueline Brown, a resident who objected to the scheme, also raised concerns over the holiday pods at the meeting.

She said there would be noise and light pollution which would disturb wildlife.

The Bathurst Estate’s planning agent spoke of how the accommodation was vital to ensure the future of the historic pub.

“The pubs closing across Gloucestershire and further afield are those that do not enjoy the benefits of accommodation.

“The consistent vision for the accommodation units at the Tunnel is that they will provide overnight stay for couples who wish to enjoy a quiet retreat.

“Staying in one of the units would allow guests to enjoy the dark skies and nature and the units have been designed with this in mind."