THE bulldozers are set to move in at a Chesham pub after plans to knock it down to make way for houses were approved on appeal.

Proposals to demolish the Nash Arms in Vale Road were given the green light by the Planning Inspectorate despite members of the community looking to make a last-ditch bid to buy the pub back from its owners.

Alternative plans to convert the ground floor into a shop and the first floor into flats were rejected at the same time.

But residents have vowed not to give up the fight, with former landlady Alex Maddern looking to see if there's a legal loophole that can be exploited.

She said: "I'll see if there's a way we can make things difficult for them and challenge any of the comments the inspectorate has made. I don't know the legality of the situation.

"As far as I'm aware we can't appeal an appeal, but I will ask what our options are just in case."

Permission was given to build a row of five terraced houses on the site of the pub after the initial application was unanimously turned down by Chiltern District Council.

Mrs Maddern, who was landlady at the pub from November 2009 until May 2010, when it was bought by Bramwood Taverns, said: "There's some relief it's not going to be the retail unit, which was felt to be much more obtrusive, but we're disappointed we're going to be losing the Nash Arms. It was seen as a community facility.

"The inspectorate seemes to brush over the fact there isn't another community facility at this end of the town, which is a shame.

"Losing the pub is one thing - losing the case is very gutting when I feel we made such a good argument."

During last month's planning appeal Mrs Maddern said an attempt was made to buy the Nash Arms by a community group, but the £450,000 asking price was too high.

She said: "I got the impression they felt if it was on the market another property developer would buy it and they would lose out. They would have felt obliged to put in a covenant it could only be run as a pub, but that's what we would have wanted to happen."

Planning inspector Paul Dobsen said in his report of the case: "If I were to dismiss both appeals and refuse planning permission the site would only face the prospect of prolonged vacancy and further dilapidation. That would not serve the interests of good town planning.

"I accept the view of both main parties that the public house use has virtually no realistic or foreseeable prospect of becoming viable."

He added "neither of the appeal proposals would entail an unacceptable loss of other (unspecified) community uses" and concluded the design of the new houses would "suit and complement their surroundings".