Chalk Lane Hotel is set to be turned into flats after Epsom and Ewell Council approved plans.

The Epsom hotel, in Chalk Lane, currently has 21 rooms and the plans include 21 flats, with between one and four bedrooms as well as a communal garden.

Owner Steven McGregor, who has run the hotel since December 1997 and been in the business for 45 years, said: “I think it's a very nice project, and I sincerely think it will enhance the area. It's taken a long time - two years' work by the developer.

He has now sold the hotel, and plans to retire.

Mr McGregor said: "We have lots of regulars, especially some of our corporate clients, and I suppose that's been my favourite part of running the hotel."

The roadside front of the building will remain unchanged by the development.

A council spokesman said: “All planning decisions involve the need to strike a balance between a range of factors and are made with regard to adopted policies.

“The government has recently suggested that this borough should be aiming to provide 579 new housing units per year, for the next 10 years.

“The council needs to optimise the use of every urban site if it is to maintain the special character of the area and protect the Green Belt.

“The public benefits of this development include the high-quality reuse of this brown field site, the retention of a historical building and the provision of new homes at a time when the need for housing is very high and the supply of suitable land very limited.”