RESIDENTS of West Malvern are hugely disappointed that a planning application to build two houses in the grounds of a local pub have been approved by local councillors.

The plan for the Lamb Inn, in West Malvern Road, was given the go-ahead by members of Malvern Hills District Council at a meeting just before Christmas.

The southern area development control committee voted eight to five to approve the scheme, despite being urged to refuse it by local members Julian Roskams and John Raine.

Speaking after the meeting Coun Roskams said: “There’s a huge amount of disappointment about this.

“The campaign to get the pub re-opened has been a long-running one.”

The pub has been closed for several years, but many locals view it as an important community resource. Its owner, Peter Styles, bought it from the pub company Punch Taverns.

Coun Roskams said: “At least this application did not affect the pub building itself.

“What we should do now is approach the applicant and encourage him to find some way of reopening the Lamb.

“He must be aware of the strength of feeling in the community about this issue, which was brought home to me when I was campaigning for election.”

Mark Haslam, of real ale group CAMRA, which wants to see the pub reopened, said: “We’re disappointed by the council’s decision, which did not take into account the views of the parish council and the majority of residents.”