AN award-winning pub steeped in history could be converted into flats, if a council gives a planning application the green light.

Rob and Teresa Ranson, who run the Hanover Inn, in Church Street, Harwich, have lodged plans to Tendring Council to turn the building into apartments.

The couple, who have owned the pub since 2016, said it is a decision they 'had to make' due to financial difficulties.

Mr Ranson said: "With the pandemic, business has continued to decrease and it is hard to compete with Wetherspoons.

"We have thoroughly enjoyed running the pub and have loved our regulars and darts team.

"There is still a chance of saving the pub, but we would need so much support from the local community.

"If money was not an issue we would love to keep the business open."

Halstead Gazette:

  • Rob and Teresa Ranson, who run the Hanover Inn

The plans have sparked concern among members of Tendring Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) which voted the Hanover Inn as Pub of the Year in 2019.

Tendring Camra members are now calling for residents to object against the planning application to keep the 300-year old building as a pub.

A Tendring Camra spokesman said: "As we've discussed at Tendring Camra meetings many times previously when we lose a pub we lose somewhere to relax, socialise and do business and once they are gone they are lost forever."

He added: "Although there are other pubs within walking distance of the Hanover, Harwich has always had a good diversity of pubs in the old town and they collectively act as a destination for visitors and a venue for events like the Harwich International Shanty Festival and the Harwich Sausage Festival.

"The Hanover is known to many as the pub nearest the town's railway and bus station."

Halstead Gazette:

  • The Hanover Inn is one of the most historic in Harwich

The pub was built in the late 1700s as houses and following a change in the road layout, the building became a pub in 1860.

So far more than 20 people have objected to the plans on Tendring Council's planning portal.

The design and access statement said despite the best efforts of the owner of the property over the past few years to try and maintain a viable pub, it has simple not proved possible.

It added: "In the current financial climate and given what the pub trade is like generally across the country, unfortunately they simply don’t all survive.

"The loss of this facility is very unfortunate but its conversion to the residential use proposed will at the very least ensure the long term future maintenance of this prominent listed building within a designated conservation area and will additionally provide a number of affordable units of deliverable accommodation."

Tendring Council has the final say on the plans.