Battle to save East Wittering pub rages on

The Royal Oak, East Wittering.   Photo by Louise Adams C130058-1 Chi Royal Oak
The Royal Oak, East Wittering. Photo by Louise Adams C130058-1 Chi Royal Oak
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EMOTIONS ran high as residents debated Co-op’s takeover bid of an historic pub.

The meeting, held by the parish council, showed a bitter divide in East Wittering between supporters of the plans and campaigners to save the pub.

At East Wittering and Bracklesham’s Parish Council meeting on Thursday (July 11), councillors objected to the plans, but not before they heard the views of several residents.

Around 30 people turned up – but it was not a united front.

Heather Brooks, who is part of the Save our Village campaign, is against the Co-op’s plans, and said: “To look at the effect a supermarket has at the beginning of a high street you need look no further than Selsey.

“When the building of Budgens supermarket was granted it had a disastrous effect on the village with many shops going out of business.”

But resident Martin Kaill supported the Co-op’s plans and thought the campaigns cause was lost.

“We are talking about saving the village,” he said.

“I think the village went when Tesco arrived.

“This is going to support the village, it is going to make the other shops more viable.”

Amy Nelson, 30, spoke out for the youngsters in the village.

“While I’ve heard people talk about the elderly, I feel that we are being overlooked,” she said.

“It is another pub that is being taken away from the youth of the village.

“It is important for us to have somewhere to go. Chichester is too expensive.”

Campaigners wanting to save the pub suggested the building could be used for a bed and breakfast, hotel or a youth centre.

But another resident disagreed with the campaigners’ hopes to save the historic building, and said the new Co-op would be ‘a better-looking entrance’ to the village.

He said he was in favour of the move, saying he liked the Co-op, and thought it was ‘a very good company’.

The parish councillors discussed the planning application, and seven out of eight were against the plans.

Councillor Geoff Breeze proposed the council object, because of the disturbances for neighbours, the close proximity of a layby for lorries to a road junction.

Around 156 letters of objection and four letters of support have been lodged to Chichester District Council over the plans.

The final decision on the application is expected to be made by the district council’s planning committee at the end of August.

Visit with the reference 13/01493/FUL for details.