AN EXTENSION to a beer garden at a grade two listed village pub dating from the 16th century is recommended for refusal.

The retrospective application, which includes hard surfaced areas for tables and seats, has been submitted at The Pheasant Inn, Pennsylvania Lane, Burwardsley by Mr A Nelson.

It is due to be considered by a meeting of Chester's planning board on Wednesday December 3 at the request of Tattenhall city councillor Mike Jones (Con).

The former farmhouse and converted shippon are mostly timber-framed with brick, sandstone and Welsh slate used throughout, according to a report.

The Pheasant is said to be located in an attractive area of open countryside set in an area of special county value.

It is also 100m from the Sandstone Trail.

Mr Nelson has told Chester City Council he is seeking retrospective approval to extend the beer garden at the pub into a field and to retain circular areas of hard standing which have been provided for round timber tables incorporating seating with thatched umbrellas.

Conservation officers believe the design and size of the hard surfaced areas seriously affect the setting of the listed building.

Their landscaping colleagues feel the hardstandings have a detrimental effect on the countryside and argue the area should be kept as natural as possible.

Planning officers point to an appeal involving a holiday cottage 30m from The Pheasant which was dismissed.

In his decision, the inspector gave “great weight” to the character and landscape of the surrounding area.

He believed that one of the key characteristics of that part of the area of special county value was the fact the natural landscape was largely free of built development.

Its largely unspoiled nature was a key feature in its importance as a tourist destination, the inspector felt.

Similar views are expressed in the council's own landscape assessment of the area and in the Burwardsley Village Design and Parish Landscape Statement, points out the report.

Planning officers say the development has a harmful effect on the surrounding landscape by extending the curtilage of The Pheasant.

It has led to the loss of an area of open countryside which contributes to the intrinsic character of Burwardsley and could create a large area with a very urban appearance within the rural landscape.

The beer garden does not respect the historic setting of the former farmhouse, they believe and suggest space is available immediately behind the pub which could be used for additional seating.

No explanation has been put forward as to why it could not be utilised.

Recommending the application should be refused, they argue the development erodes features for which the area of special county value had been designated and does not respect the character of the surrounding rural landscape.

It introduces features of an urban appearance and does not pay regard to the setting of the listed building.

The planning board meets at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Chester at 10.30am on Wednesday.