A historic pub frequented by the bereaved families of repatriated soldiers has been given planning permission to be restored to its former glory.

The roof of Royal Wootton Bassett’s oldest pub, the Cross Keys in the High Street, has been shrouded in scaffolding and tarpaulin since it was gutted by fire in July last year.

An application to restore the building, which dates from 1742, has now been approved by Wiltshire Council, although with strict conditions to ensure the heritage of the building is maintained.

Enterprise Inns, which owns the pub, consulted English Heritage and a senior conservation officer during the application process to ensure plans to restore the Grade-II listed building met necessary guidelines.

At the time the application was lodged, an Enterprise spokesman said the firm was pleased the application had been validated and a contractor would be appointed to do the work once planning was approved.

He said: “While it is still too early to confirm any definitive timescales, we are still pleased to have reached this stage so that we can look forward to commencing the reinstatement works.”

The conditions on the planning permission include starting the restoration within three years, to use only stainless steel plates as part of the restoration and that no work can start until details of all new or replacement rainwater goods have been approved by the council.

Similarly no work is allowed to begin at the site until details on methods of fire protection, sound proofing and insulation had been approved.

The pub became a popular haunt with the families of soldiers repatriated through the town between April 2007 and September 2011, and the news that it is to be restored was welcomed by many.

Town councillor and former firefighter Chris Wannell said: “It’s one of the oldest inns in the town and it’s part our town’s history as well as the High Street.

“It’s also where a lot of people come to remember their loved ones, and I know they want to have it restored.

“It’s also a sorry sight at the moment.”