An AWARD-WINNING pub looks set to be converted into houses after the 170-year-old inn shut its doors.

Plans to convert the The Stair Inn – 2006’s Scottish Inn of the Year – into three homes have been submitted to planning chiefs.

The pub was put on the market for sale three years ago but due to “uncontrollable decline in custom” has not attracted a buyer before it closed in October 2019.

The application to change the use of the pub, extend the building and erection of a new house with associated car parking and installation of secondary package sewerage treatment plant, was submitted late last month.

The Stair Inn has been a rural public house since before 1850 and has had many owners over the last 170 years.

The pub outlasted all the historic industries associated with the Ayr River Valley such as milling and quarrying.

The current owner David Birrell, took over the pub in 2005 and within a year it was awarded Scottish Inn of the Year (2006) bringing a much-needed boost to the economy.

Planning documents state: “The following years were good however the last ten years has seen a gradual and relentless decline in customers due to a number of external factors, such as increasing duty on the sale of alcohol, the reduction in the number of alcohol units permitted for driving, the smoking ban and the online necessity for ‘bargain deals’. All of which have had a significant impact on the turnover for the business and unfortunately due to the rural location of the Stair Inn there is no ‘static’ regular patronage to rely on.”

“To ensure the building does not become redundant and ultimately derelict, the owner is now seeking to convert the building into housing to safeguard its future. As an enabling project for the development a new house will require to be built and sold to generate the necessary funds to facilitate the conversion of the Inn.