A centuries-old pub building is to be converted into living accommodation after councillors rejected the advice of their planning officers and approved the project.

An application had been submitted to Breckland Council, requesting permission to make the changes at the Old Workhouse in Bawdeswell, near Reepham.

The plan suggested converting the ground floor into "ancillary accommodation", meaning that the whole building will be one residential property, because the top floor is already used as living space.

The 241-year-old building had served as a workhouse, school, bakery and shop, until becoming a pub in 2001.

The pub closed in March this year and the applicant argued that it was no longer a viable business. 

Officers at Breckland said they had not seen evidence that an alternative use could not be found for the building, to keep it as a community facility. 

But at a meeting of Breckland Council’s planning committee on Tuesday, November 29, councillors voted by 10 votes to one in favour of approving the project. 

Local Conservative councillor Gordon Bambridge said it would be “perverse” to insist that the building remains as a pub if it is unable to make a profit.