A boxing club in Oswestry will not be demolished to make way for housing.

Rich Cosgrove had hoped to build four apartments and one house on the Oak Street site after he took it to appeal following refusal by Shropshire Council.

But the Government’s planning inspectorate, Thomas Hatfield, has also rejected it on the grounds that it would “significantly harm” the character of the area.

Mr Cosgrove had hoped to move his growing Elite Martial Arts club out of the building and onto the town’s industrial estate, and use the vacant space to provide housing for first-time buyers. His initial plans for six one-bedroom apartments were reduced.

But they were refused by Shropshire Council in January 2018 as planning officers felt they would be “overdevelopment” and lead to “unacceptable, cramped living standards for the future occupants.”

They also noted the lack of external amenity space. Mr Hatfield agreed with their findings, noting the “awkward appearance” of the southern gable, as well as the “inadequate” size of the two bedroom house.

However, he did concede that the apartments “would provide adequate living space for a small one-bedroom property and would not be an unduly cramped form of accommodation.”

He continued: “Separately, the development would be built up close to the boundaries of the site and would provide very little outdoor amenity space for future occupiers.

“In this regard, it is not clear that the proposed amenity space would be large enough to accommodate the bins associated with the development, a cycle storage area, and provide sufficient space to dry clothes.

“The lack of an adequate outdoor area such as this would be particularly harmful given the limited internal space within the properties.

“While the appellant has indicated that a communal bin store would be provided, it is questionable whether this could be manoeuvred in and out of the narrow alleyway down the side of the development. It is therefore unlikely to be a practical solution in this case.”

Mr Hatfield concluded: “The development would significantly harm the character and appearance of the area, and the living conditions of both future and neighbouring occupiers of the development.

“While it would provide new housing in a relatively accessible location, and would generate some modest economic benefits, that does not alter my view that the appeal should be dismissed.”