A SHOP that has been empty for two years could be transformed into a pub, it has been claimed.

A planning application has been submitted to turn the Grade II-listed building at 45 St Mary’s Street, Wallingford, into a pub.

The building, which has been empty for two years, has a three-bedroom apartment above it on the first floor and the ground floor is designed for retail use.

However, the planning application, which is currently in the consultation period, requests permission to turn the building into a drinking establishment.

Planning officer Kim Gould, responded to the request to turn the old shop into a pub and said: “It is my opinion that a change of use from a vacant retail unit to a drinking establishment would not undermine the vitality or viability of the town centre or reduce an active frontage at ground level.”

The building dates to 1850 and it has historically been used as a shop. It was last used as a shop by tenant Rides on Air which vacated the property in August 2011.

Since then, the unit has been advertised as available to rent as a shop – but with no success.

An adjacent building has been recently converted from three floors of retail to just the ground floor – with the two upper floors designated for residential use.

This has led to a significant proportion of the key ground floor retail area being converted into offices.

The design and access statement submitted with the planning application suggests that turning the building into a bar is likely to be more suitable for the Wallingford core retail area than office use.

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County Archaeological Services has not objected to the development of the historic building, and commenting on the planning application, said: “This site is in an area of archaeological interest.

"Pre-application advice from this service was that if the proposals resulted in below ground disturbance, this would require archaeological works. The proposals do not appear to include such works and I therefore consider that there are no archaeological constraints to this scheme.”

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The applicant proposes the new pub’s opening hours would match those of the town's Old Post Office and be open Monday to Thursday, from 8am till 11pm, Friday to Saturday from 8am till 1am, and Sunday from 9am till 11pm.

The target decision date for the panning application P20/S2588/FUL is September 11, 2020 and there is still time to comment, with the consultation period ending on September 3.