Objections to village pub plans

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Four years after their local pub closed, campaigners in Crawley Down are less than happy with plans to refurbish it, demolish parts of it, and add nine flats to the site.

Described as ‘probably the most important heritage building in the village’, The Royal Oak, in Station Road, closed in 2015 and has remained that way despite the efforts of the Save The Pub team.

Now an application has been submitted to Mid Sussex District Council, asking permission to demolish the pub’s single-storey extensions and an outbuilding and to replace them with three-storey side and rear extensions to house nine flats.

One flat will be used by the landlord, while the others will be made up of two one-bedroom and six two-bedroom homes. There will be parking space for nine cars.

When the pub was open, the extensions made up part of the bar area, the kitchen and toilets.

The application said the ground-floor of the new extensions would include toilets, a kitchen and a dining area.

The Save The Pub team has called on the council to carry out a viability study, questioning how well the pub would do – and how the flats’ future tenants would cope with the noise.

A spokesman said: “It is not possible to say whether the pub will work with a smaller footprint, no beer garden, no parking and surrounded by eight flats whose residents may not appreciate live bands, quizzes and beer festivals, all of which help make a pub viable.”

The application has attracted dozens of objections, with concerns including the lack of parking for the pub, the number of flats being proposed and fears the pub itself would eventually fail and be converted into more flats.

One said: “The existing pub building is in character with the village and is literally in the heart of the village. To change this to an over-development of the site will be totally out of character to the village centre, next to old cottages.”

A spokesman for the district council said no decision had yet been made as to whether the application would be delegated to an officer or put before the planning committee.

Either way, a decision should have been made by September 9.

To read the application documents, log on to midsussex.gov.uk and search for DM/19/2719.