A CAMPAIGN to save a village pub near York has won a major boost.

Planning officials are recommending that plans by Richard and Tracy Harrison to change The White Swan at Thornton Le Clay into a residential property should be turned down by councillors next Tuesday.

A report to Ryedale District Council’s planning committee says: "The proposed change of use of the public house would result in the unnecessary loss of a valued local community facility which meets the day to day needs of the local community.”

The Harrisons said earlier this year that when they had bought the pub, they had been ‘very excited' to carry on a business. However, a report by leading pub specialist, Fleurets, had stated that this pub specifically was 'at high risk of business failure.’ They added: “This has been a tremendous disappointment to us but we have to accept the financial reality and so decided not to reopen, hence the current application."

The report to councillors by Jill Thompson said reports by two other chartered surveyors, Mike Hughes and Barry Crux, had concluded that a business was viable at the property.

The report it had not been demonstrated that suitable alternative and accessible alternative facilities were available to meet the needs of the local community or that it was no longer economically viable to provide the facility.

It said 160 letters of objection have been received, mainly from individuals but also the Village Hall Institute.Objectors said that once the pub was lost, it would never be regained, and it would be a 'travesty' if the application was passed, the community needed the pub and its loss would be dreadful for village life.

The parish council had also objected, saying the White Swan was profitable, well used and a place for locals to socialise and get to know each other as well as addressing social isolation and the well-being of the community.

The Save Our Swan campaign group said the pub was s economically viable and Mr Hughes' report is objective and weight should be given to that.

However, eight letters of explicit support for the application had been received, saying a pub in the village was not viable and would not make a profit and it was unreasonable for the applicants to use their own money to support a business that would fail.

They said the community needed to come together to enhance the use of its other facilities.

The Save Our Swan campaign group said today it was a 'relief' that the planning officer’s recommendation was aligned with its aims and with planning policy at both regional and national level.

It said the policies were designed to protect the vitality of towns and villages and the wellbeing of their communities, and could not be casually disregarded.

"We represent a tight knit community and our passion and commitment to retain our thriving village pub has gained a strong following, even from those living further afield, who recognise the loss it would represent to the village," it said. "The support so far has been both welcome and quite incredible.’