CAMPAIGNERS are celebrating after a bid to turn a Monk Sherborne pub into a home was quashed by the Planning Inspectorate.

Theresa Thompson, of Tadley, asked a planning inspector to let her turn The Mole Inn into a four-bedroom home after Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council refused the application in February.

The appeal hinged on whether there was sufficient justification for the loss of the pub.

The inspector, Terry Phillimore, wrote in his decision report: “A public house within the village is valued as a recreation and community facility...there is a strong desire for its reopening.”

Villagers opposed to the pub’s conversion claimed that when Mr and Mrs Thompson tested the market by putting The Mole Inn up for sale as a business, their £400,000 asking price was “over-inflated”.

Mr Phillimore agreed, writing: “The asking price was at a level that would have put off prospective purchasers and made it more difficult for those interested to obtain finance.

“There has therefore not been a long enough open marketing exercise at a realistic price to demonstrate that continued public house use is not viable.”

Emma Hampson, of the Save the Mole Committee, said: “We are pleased with the outcome but we are still a long way from reopening the pub.

“We hope very much that the pub will be made available to buy but that is to a great extent out of our hands.”

Residents formed the Save the Mole Committee to oppose the original planning application submitted by Mrs Thompson’s husband, the former Concorde captain Adrian Thompson.

Mrs Hampson, of Paddock Field, said the Mole campaigners would have to wait and see what the owner decides to do next. Mrs Thompson was unavailable for comment.