The Fountain pub in New Malden is to be halved to make way for flats after councillors approved developers’ plans.

The pub will be reduced from 413 square metres to 214 square metres, removing 90-year-old additions to the building. Three-to-five-storey blocks containing 43 flats and a shop or cafe will then be built on the site.

A decision on the plans had been expected at the Development Control Committee’s  meeting in July, but councillors deferred the application until September 5 so the developer could improve the design of the scheme.

At the most recent meeting, chairwoman Councillor Patricia Bamford said the new plans were “much improved”.

Councillors, who voted to approve the scheme by eight votes to one, also praised the number of affordable homes (33 per cent), and the way the pub will “stand out” in the development more than was first planned.

They also welcomed the developer’s commitment to give £20,000 towards restoring the fountain roundabout, situated next to the pub.

The pub, which closed in June, will lose its extension, garden and car park, as well as its first and second floors, previously used as a kitchen, meeting rooms and staff accommodation.

Kingston and Leatherhead Campaign for Real Ale had submitted an objection to the application.

Pub protection officer Chris Miller said: “Obviously we are disappointed with the decision.

“We had objected to the changes to the pub, as they would impact on its historical merits, its viability and of course its value as a community facility – something the council is supposed to give consideration to.

“The community will lose the extensive garden – a safe place for families away from the noise, fumes and dangers of the nearby roads. The large first-floor meeting rooms, in use since the pub was built 150 years ago and a rarity in Kingston, will also be lost – as will the kitchen, which served the ground floor.

“The first and second floor staff accommodation will also be lost – all to residential.

“So local people will be left with a much-impaire facility: a pub with no safe garden, no food provision, no meeting facility, nowhere for staff to “live in”, and a much smaller ground floor.

“But it could so easily have been left largely intact, with any development taking place in the large car park behind it.”

Mr Miller had also been concerned about the possible loss of a glass roof dome, but councillors added a condition to the planning permission that requires the developer to keep it, to maintain the builing’s historical merit.