A restaurant in Berkshire that has undergone a number of transformations could now become homes.

Wargrave is one of the most desirable villages in the county, occupying a beautiful Thames-side location with a host of businesses including barbers, a dental practice, coffee shops and more.

Many of those businesses occupy the High Street, which also has two open pubs, a closed pub and a closed restaurant.

Now the closed restaurant could become six homes, and have a new house built to its rear.

READ MORE: Piggott School near Wargave to take in more than 200 new pupils 

The building 45 High Street, referred to as the ‘Spice Lounge’ has undergone a number of changes over the last 10 years.

These changes are demonstrated in Google Maps images.

It used to be called The White Hart, providing alcoholic drinks, pub food and accommodation to people visiting the area.

The building is shown as The White Hart in an image from 2009, but the pub’s history stretches back well before that.

Councillor Graham Howe (Conservative, Remenham, Wargrave and Ruscombe) said: “It’s been around since before the 1940s even. It goes back a long time.

“During one of the village festivals 20 years ago I remember going on a walk held by the Wargrave History Society who said the village once had 10 pubs.”

The building is Grade II listed and dates back to the 16th Century.

Reading Chronicle: The White Hart at 45 High Street, Wargrave, which is understood to have existed since before the 1940s. Credit: Google MapsThe White Hart at 45 High Street, Wargrave, which is understood to have existed since before the 1940s. Credit: Google Maps

In late 2013, retrospective permission was granted to convert the pub into a restaurant, with it becoming the Haweli which served cuisine from the Indian Subcontinent.

The building was seen as Haweli from 2016-2017.

The Haweli restaurant is still going, albeit operating from a ‘branch’ at 15 Church Street, Twyford.

After Haweli left, 45 High Street became the Da Toni Italian restaurant, its last use before Da Toni closed down by 2020.

You can see how the transformations in the graphic below: 

Now, a developer wants to convert into four one-bed and two two-bed flats, and build a two bedroom home to the rear in an application submitted to the local authority Wokingham Borough Council.

The restaurant’s conversion into homes has effective consent in principle as a conversion plan was approved in May 2021.

But further determination will be needed for the planned two bedroom home to the rear of the building.

To clear the way for the home, an existing coach house will be demolished.

The prospect of the building being brought back into use as a pub or restaurant has been dispelled by the applicant’s planning agents.

In a planning and heritage statement, the agent said: “In 2013, when planning permission was granted to change the use to a restaurant, the Council considered evidence as to why the property couldn’t continue as a pub.

“The conclusion was that the change of use and the loss of community facility was accepted.

“In the intervening seven years, pubs have continued to be lost and there is no indication of any reverse in the cycle of fewer pubs being needed.

“The reversion to a pub remains unviable as it was back in 2013.

“The restaurant proved unsuccessful as a business, not least because Wargrave is a relatively small settlement and, despite its affluence, cannot sustain the number of restaurants that it had.”

You can view the plan for 45 High Street by typing reference 230688 into the Wokingham planning portal.

Not far away, developers have submitted a plan to convert the closed Greyhound pub into a wine bar, village shop and more under application reference 223795.