LAND near a vacant village pub would be suitable for housing, an inspector decided.

But he withheld permission for nine new dwellings, put forward by housebuilders Seddon Homes near the Egerton Arms, Pinfold Lane, Little Budworth.

The developers appealed when Cheshire West and Chester Council failed to reach a decision on their application.

Inspector Brendan Lyons said the new build would include six detached homes and three terraced cottages, three of which would be affordable.

The issues, he believed, were the suitability of the site for development, the effect on an adjoining Grade II star listed almshouse, Dodds House, and the village conservation area and the effect on neighbours.

The development could make a contribution to the viability of local facilities and help to secure ‘fragile’ services such as the visiting post office. It could also make a significant contribution to the need for affordable housing.

Mr Lyons suggested, however, the new build would not make a positive contribution to local character and distinctiveness.

The harm would not be outweighed by the contribution to meeting housing need.

The gardens of two of the proposed houses would appear to be at significant risk of danger from over hit cricket balls from the village cricket ground.

The inspector concluded that although the site was suitable for housing, the effect of the development would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits it would provide.

It would also not be sustainable as Little Budworth had poor accessibility and facilities. Mr Lyons dismissed the appeal and refused planning permission.