A HISTORIC haunted pub in the centre of Chard is set to undergo a massive refurbishment.

The work at the listed 17th Century The Choughs Hotel would include repairing the roof, which "leaks like a colander" when it rains.

The building's owner, Star Pubs and Bars - part of the Heineken group - has submitted a planning application with South Somerset District Council for the project at the listed 17th Century High Street hostelry.

Landlord Steve Morgan, who has been at The Choughs for two and a half years, said: "It's going to be completely redecorated inside.

"And there will be extensive work on the roof, which leaks like a colander.

"Every time it rains water comes through into the flat upstairs where I live.

"We catch the water in buckets and we've been pretty lucky that nothing's been damaged."

Mr Morgan added: "We don't know when the improvements will take place. It all depends on the council and when they make the planning decision."

The work on the ground floor will include general refurbishment, complete redecoration, new panelling, floor finishes and some fixed seating.

The premises will be completely redecorated, with new signage and lighting.

The premises are shared with a ghost Mr Morgan speaks to every day.

"I've seen some shadows, like a floating grey image," he said.

"There's nothing untoward and I'm not frightened.

"I'm a believer in it. I say, 'Good night' to it every evening."

The spirit is said to be that of a woman called Winifred.

An inverted tombstone in an ancient fireplace bears her name.

There are stories that anyone attempting to take a photograph of the relic is doomed to fail.

Camera equipment has been known to malfunction and any images are foggy or do not appear.

There have been further stories of ghostly goings on in The Chough down the years.

One landlady chanced upon a mysterious figure of a knight in armour blocking the passageway one night, although he simply vanished when she asked him to move.

Others have spoken of seeing an old man crouched beside the fireplace in the bar, presumed to be the ghost of the Civil War 'Hanging Judge' Jeffreys, who once stayed in the hotel.