A LONG-RUNNING battle over a village pub has been reignited after a second planning application to turn it into a six-bedroom house was submitted.

The Railway Inn at Fourstones has been closed since 2015, and in April last year Geoffrey Smart submitted a controversial planning application to turn the pub into a six-bedroom house.

Following a campaign by residents and a petition, the application was rejected by Northumberland County Council. Planning chiefs concluded that the pub was “deliberately run down” before the application was submitted.

The parish council was also successful in making the pub an asset of community value.

However, Mr Smart has now submitted a second planning application to turn the pub into a house – this time with a viability report from London-based consultancy firm Colliers International, which concluded that the building did not have a future as a pub.

Mr Smart explained that he could not afford to run the pub at a loss and wanted to sell the site if the application was successful.

He said: “It’s totally impractical. I’m not prepared to go on losing money every year.

“I think it would make a nice house, nicer than it is as a pub. It’s out the way, it’s right down by the railway station which is also closed.

“Nobody has made it work. It’s changed hands six or eight times in the last ten years.”

Mr Smart also dismissed claims that he had deliberately run the pub down as “absolute rubbish.”

Despite this, the application has once again been met with opposition from local residents, who will be attending a meeting on Thursday evening to decide how best to oppose the application.

Campaigner Ken Page said the application provided no new information.

“This London-based firm has used his own arguments, which failed last time,” Mr Page added.

“It has suggested that Mr Smart tried to make a go of the business, but the county council said last time he had no business plan. Nothing has changed.”