Historic building's days as a pub could be over
The historic Slab House Inn could soon be turned into a home, if plans get the go-ahead.
The pub, on the road to Bath from Wells, has been closed since January 2011 and was bought last year by local businessman Kevin Newton.
Now, through Radstock architects Pointcloud, Mr Newton, who also owns the Swan Hotel in Wells, has submitted plans to redevelop the site.
The conversion will keep the main, oldest, part of the pub while later extensions, notably the large one at the back will be demolished and replaced.
There are also plans to build a single-storey garage in the garden.
All the materials used would be local stone, matching the existing building.
Although the pub has been shut for some time the application still makes the case for permanently removing the possibility of it reopening. It states: "The reality with public houses that have been closed are that very few open again, particularly when closed for a number of years and this can be seen clearly in the locality, with many pubs closing not to reopen."
They also claim that the Slab House being gone could benefit other local ale houses.
"Closure of a number of public houses improves the viability of those public houses remaining, which can readily absorb any overflow business."
The application states that when Mr Newton bought the Slab House he had an open mind as to what to do with it.
However, research concluded that it would not be viable for reopening as a pub. It found that anyone wishing to open a pub in the area would find another location more viable.
This was due to the large amount of damage the pub has received since closing, meaning that it was not just a case of someone taking it over and moving in.
Since its closure the Slab House has been the victim of burglars and arsonists.
The police treated a September 2011 fire as suspicious after firefighters found windows to the skittle alley open.
The Slab House takes its name from the stone slab which once stood on the site, on the edge of a three-mile quarantine limit imposed when the Black Death came to Wells in 1348. Cautious traders left produce on the slab for the potentially infectious citizens to collect.
In the 1990s there was an application to convert the site into holiday lets which was approved but never undertaken.
The business was successful in the early 2000s growing in size until it was sold in 2007 for around £1m.
However, the new owner was unable to survive the country's economic difficulties.