Plans have been submitted to convert a long-empty pub near Chippenham into a house. 

Most recently used as a cafe and wine bar, the Mermaid Inn in Christian Malford has been empty since 2010, according to the planning documents. 

The last occupants of the pub were evicted in September 2009 by an order from the Swindon Magistrates Court, after failing to pay outstanding costs - the design, access and heritage statement attached to the application claims.

According to the planning documents, between 2005 and 2010 Punch Taverns leased the premises to a number of individuals/companies to see if they could make it work financially.

None were successful, and the pub's businesses continued to decline. 

The application says that in view of this and "combined with people’s changing drinking habits, and pressures on the industry as a whole, the utilisation of the whole of such a large building as a business, is no longer economically viable."

Smethurst Property Consultants has said that given the lack of interest in the pub up to this point, it is its opinion that the building is "too far removed to appeal as a serious commercial opportunity". 

The applicants say the building is "no longer fit for purpose", adding: "In conclusion, the application scheme is acceptable in all respects and request that full planning permission is granted subject to conditions."

Separate planning applications have already been approved to build other homes on the same site, and the land was allocated for development in the Christian Malford Neighbourhood Plan. 

If this latest application goes through, there will two four-bedroom houses, two three-bedroom homes and three two-bedroom homes on the site, which the applicants say will provide a "good mix and range of housing, which is considered to be wholly appropriate to Christian Malford and will provide housing for families looking to remain within the village".

The pub itself is a Grade II listed building, and the ground floor of the main building comprises of the bar, lounge and function room and includes the public toilets, kitchen, food preparation area and cellar.

The first floor is the manager’s ancillary domestic accommodation and comprises of a lounge, bathroom and five bedrooms. The second floor has two loft rooms.

The applicants say their proposals do not disturb the historic layout of the building, and "in fact will reinforce that character by working with and maintaining the pattern and structure of the building".