A ROYAL Wootton Bassett pub treasured by bereaved families of repatriated soldiers is to undergo repair work after being gutted by fire last summer.

The roof of the town’s oldest pub, the Cross Keys in the High Street, has been shrouded in scaffolding and tarpaulin since it went up in flames in July last year.

Now an application to restore the building, which dates back to 1742, has been submitted to Wiltshire Council.

Enterprise Inns, who own the pub, have been in careful consultation with English Heritage and a senior conservation officer in order to ensure that plans to restore the Grade II listed building to its pre-fire state met relevant guidelines.

An Enterprise spokes- person said: “We are pleased to hear that our planning application has been validated, and we are now in the process of appointing a contractor to carry out the necessary works once the planning has been approved. Whilst it is still too early to confirm any definitive timescales, we are still pleased to have reached this stage so that we can look forward to commencing the reinstatement works.”

The pub became a popular haunt to the families of soldiers who were repatriated through the town between April 2007 and September 2011, and the news that it is to be restored has been warmly welcomed.

Town councillor and former firefighter Chris Wannell said: “I am very pleased to see they’re going to do something because we were extremely worried it would just be left to ruin.

“It will be good to see it back in use on the High Street, especially because during the repatriations it did become so popular with the families and it will be good for them to come back and have a drink and a bite to eat if they wanted to.”

Enterprise plan only to restore the pub to its state before the fire.

Enterprise said: “We have appointed a full design team to prepare tender documents for suitable contractors to carry out the work of reinstatement.

“No alterations to the original layouts and room uses are proposed. The works consist entirely of fire and water damage reinstatement to the roof, ground and first floors and elevations where affected by the fire.”

The proposed repairs include rebuilding the gables, installing new roof trusses, relaying the floor boards and installing new lath and plaster ceilings.

To find out more about the plans, visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/planninganddevelopment and search North Wiltshire applications for application number 14/00635/LBC