AN 81-YEAR-OLD business owner who has run a small antique shop from the front of his home for almost 60 years has had his dreams of retirement shattered.

Anthony Cove set up the 101 Studio antique shop with his mother in 1959 after getting planning permission to use the front room of the small house they had bought in Eton High Street.

With retirement looming he thought closing the business and reclaiming the front of his house would be a simple matter – but it was not.

Eton Town Council opposed his planning application for a ‘change of use’ from retail to residential on the grounds that it contravened the new Neighbourhood Plan for Eton that aims to stop shops being lost.

This was confirmed by Royal Borough planning councillors who turned Mr Cove down flat.

A furious Mr Cove said: “It is ludicrous.

“The business is part of the house.

“It has no water or lavatory facilities of its own.

“It occupies such a small area that I would not have even needed to apply for permission for change of use if this had not been a listed building.

“No one has even been to look for themselves.”

His little shop literally covers what would once have been the front room of his house and a door opens straight into main living area.

Mr Cove intends to appeal against the council’s decision.

He emphasises he has no intention of leaving his house or moving out of Eton.

He is unlucky to have applied to make his change at a time where there is a great push to prevent owners of retail properties in the town turning them into homes because it is more lucrative.

The clerk of Eton Town Council Bob Austen said this week: “There was nothing personal against Mr Cove in the town council’s decision.

“But the new Neighbourhood Plan is very strong on keeping the High Street as a viable retail and commercial entity and the council has committed itself to keeping all shops intact.

“I have great sympathy with Mr Cove and realise he is never going to keep it going as a shop and does want it to go back to being part of his house.”