A NEW planning bid has been tabled to use a closed East Dorset pub building as a residential dwelling – while a Poole landlady has expressed her interest in getting the watering hole back open.

The Churchill Arms in Sturminster Marshall has been closed for a couple of years.

Two applications had previously been put forward by Northshore Companies Ltd to demolish the existing building and replace it with housing.

However, these schemes were rejected by council planners, with one also being dismissed on appeal.

Now a change of use bid has been submitted concerning the closed pub and manager's flat building.

Details on the proposals are limited, but applicants Mr and Mrs O'Neill are seeking permission to use the building as a single detached residential dwelling.

Two objections from Sturminster Marshall residents have been submitted to date, with these both referencing the proposed housing developments in and around the village and the view that the pub is needed as a community space.

Meanwhile, Lisa Ballett, who is landlady at The Pilot at Canford Heath, has said she would be interested in buying the building with a view to getting the pub reopen.

"The place has huge potential," said Ms Ballett. "It could run as a really nice community pub.

"The other pubs in the area are more foody and there is a huge amount of development being planned in the area.

"I think the village needs a community pub. I really think it is a viable option and you could do a lot with it.

"The pandemic has shown that local pubs can be the focal point of a community, even while we have been shut.

"There is just so much scope for that pub, which is an historic building."

The Daily Echo contacted change of use applicants Mr and Mrs O'Neill about the situation and they did not wish to comment at this time.