More than 40 objections have been filed by residents against plans to transform a popular North Yorkshire pub into three properties.

A planning application has been submitted to North Yorkshire Council for the conversion of The Arden Arms, located between North and South Cowton.

Residents fear that The Arden Arms, in Atley Hill, described as the “heart of the local community”, will never reopen if the application is successful.

One objector, James White, said: “It has been the heart of the local community for generations, and it is a tragedy that it has been forced to close - never mind the possibility that it will never reopen if this application was to be passed.

“It was a meeting point for the rural community and was a great place for us to entertain clients from all over Europe as well as team building days, and Christmas lunch.

“It was a busy, thriving business at the heart of the rural community.

“If this application was to be passed so the Arden Arms would be gone forever, I believe this would be a huge loss to the local community and I really hope that you do not allow this to happen.”

The application will see the conversion of the existing public house into two properties, and the existing dwelling on the site remodelled.

The rear porch will also be demolished, and two storey and first floor extensions built if plans are approved.

Car parking will be relocated to the west of the application site.

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Another resident, Geoff Dunn, said: “The Arden Arms has for the last six years under the current tenants been an integral part of the local community and as such the planning authority needs to give careful consideration to the possibility of the loss of yet another local pub to be replaced by a housing development.

“We need to maintain the infrastructure of the local community amenities before we start considering further housing development.”

Geoffrey King, of Dalton-on-Tees, said: “Unbelievable that this most important community hub and seemingly successfully running traditional rural pub restaurant and kids play area and family accommodation, is under threat to make way for just three dwellings.”