A PUB’S plans for expansion could be halted after planning officers recommended them for refusal.

Plans were proposed to demolish the conservatory at the Ferry Boat Inn in Ferry Road, North Fambridge, and replace it with a new bar and restaurant.

There would also be an extension to the kitchen, changes to the car park and a new patio area.

But planning officers have advised Maldon District Council to reject the proposal.

The officer’s report said: “The proposed development, by virtue of the scale, position, form, mass and appearance of the proposed extensions, would represent incongruous and sprawling additions to the existing listed building that would be harmful to the character, appearance and setting of the listed building and the character and appearance of the site, the street scene and the rural area in general.

“This harm is not outweighed by the suggested benefits of the proposal.

“The proposal is therefore unacceptable.”

Chris Hewitt, of 2C Design Consultants – the development’s agents – said the “changes proposed to the historic fabric of the inn amount to less than substantial harm”.

A report from 2C Design said the proposal is necessary to ensure the pub continues to improve, while maintaining its tradition.

He said: “The design pays tribute to the local weather-boarding design heritage, which is seen not only on the Ferry Boat Inn itself, but also on many other similar buildings that previously existed near the inn and those that still do exist in other forms in the locality.

“All of the inn’s important surviving historic features would be retained – in several respects, the timber framing would become much more visible than it is at present.”

Objector Pandora Clayton said the Ferry Boat Inn was one of the many reasons she had moved to North Fambridge.

She said the changes would “rip the heart” out of the community.

Mrs Clayton added: “We naturally welcome any personage that comes here but do think the main attraction to them is the fact they are visiting a ‘real’ pub that has not been ruined by the belief that ‘chain’ pub ideals are the way forward.”

The pub has been a part of the village for about 500 years.

The plans would also see the car park more than double in size, with 40 parking spaces.

North Fambridge Parish Council does not object to the application, but said there are needs for changes, especially relating to the placement of the pub’s toilets.