Plans to turn a pub in Great Missenden into housing have been refused, to the delight of a leading campaign group.

Chiltern District Council rejected an application by developers Amplio Developments Ltd to turn the dilapidated George Inn and Courthouse on the High Street into four homes.

Campaign group Save the George has been working to stop the historic building from being turned into housing, and spokesman Louise Vaux said the decision was a “step in the right direction”. She now wants to see it restored to its former glory.

She said: “The George in Great Missenden has been at the heart of our community for over 500 years.

“We hope to be given the opportunity to purchase the property so we can then proceed with plans to restore, re-open and then maintain these historic buildings for future generations.”

The property is on sale with leisure property agent David Coffer Lyons. Spokesman Keith Goodwin said all offers for the buildings were being considered.

Ms Vaux said the group’s key aims were to retain the heritage buildings and re-open The George as a pub and restaurant offering a function room, which she said would help “reinvigorate the high street in Great Missenden.”

She added: “We believe that an extensively restored and thriving George Inn is by far the best outcome for Great Missenden.

“It will help local employment, community cohesion, meet undoubted local demand and it safeguards these significant medieval buildings for us all.”

Chiltern District Council cited the “loss of a public house” and said the conversion would “seriously affect the way in which the listed buildings could be seen, experienced and understood” in its rejection letter.

It went on to say: “The buildings would cease to read as a single entity and would no longer express a sense of historic relationship and shared special purpose.

“This would result in a very high level of harm to the special interest and setting of the listed buildings.”

The Grade II listed buildings have been registered as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ on the council’s website and are on Historic England’s ‘At Risk’ register.

This means the site is seen to be at risk of being lost as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development, according to the Historic England website.

Speaking about their next steps, James Stacpoole, spokesman for Amplio Developments Ltd, said: "We are weighing up all our planning options while the building is still on the market."