AN HISTORIC former pub, which is believed to have been built during the development of an area of Christchurch, is set to be turned into offices.

The Salisbury Arms, a grade II listed building in Purewell, has lain vacant for several years. It was last in use as an Indian restaurant, which closed in 2013.

Since then, a flat above the former pub has been occupied while the downstairs area has remained empty.

Plans have now been submitted to Christchurch council for a change of use from a pub to office and residential space.

A heritage statement submitted as part of the application explained the history of the building, which has original features dating from the mid to late 17th century.

The building was then heavily altered in the 18th century to enable its use as an inn, possibly related to coaching routes.

“The date of this early structure would have been linked to the early 17th century development of Purewell following the demise of the Castle of Christchurch,” the statement reads.

“Christchurch and Purewell were growing as a salmon fishery with fulling (cloth washing) and weaving trades associated.”

It adds: “Eighteenth century alterations have resulted in heavy changes to the original plan. These would have coincided with a growth in Purewell with trading by sea routes and improvements to harbour and river navigation. The Avon was made navigable to Salisbury, and the new harbour at Christchurch opened.

“The name of the pub may well have been associated with this as there is mention that it had previously been named the Royal Oak.”

The proposed works are mainly internal and involve the creation of a new bathroom and kitchen for the residential area of the building, and the transformation of the former downstairs pub area into office space.

The heritage statement says the proposed works would have “little or no impact” on the structure of the building or its heritage value.

“Making the use of the commercial area a complete separate entity will allow for it to be put to use as a working environment for the benefit of the local community and preserve the current mixture of commercial and residential within the location.”