UPDATE: What next for East Wittering’s Royal Oak pub?

The Royal Oak, East Wittering.'''Photo by Louise Adams C130058-1 Chi Royal Oak ENGSUS00120130115151515
The Royal Oak, East Wittering.'''Photo by Louise Adams C130058-1 Chi Royal Oak ENGSUS00120130115151515

A CAMPAIGNER who fought to prevent the Co-op building a new East Wittering supermarket has hailed the company’s decision to back down.

Heather Brooks, from East Wittering, was one of those who ran the ‘Save Our Village’ campaign, to stop new Co-op store being built at Stocks Lane on the site of the Royal Oak pub.

They were trying to make more money and we never thought that was going to work

Heather Brooks, East Wittering resident

“The reasons they’re saying they’re not going to do it now are what we’ve been saying for the past two years,” she said.

The company announced today (June 1) it was ‘no longer economically viable’ to build the supermarket.

“Personally, I’m delighted,” said Ms Brooks. “I think that the others that fought so hard will be delighted. Now it’s more concerning what happens next. They’re not going to just leave it there.”

The Southern Co-operative has confirmed it does not intend to sell the land, leaving residents wondering what the future holds. The pub was closed more than a year ago after planning permission for the supermarket was given.

Ms Brooks’ preference is for the pub building to be retained and for a B&B to be incorporated.

The Co-op already has a store down the street in Cakeham Road, meaning it will now focus its attention on upgrading its current offering.

“They wanted to move and I think in doing that they were doing the village a disservice,” said Ms Brooks.

“They were trying to make more money and we never thought that was going to work. All the villagers said the same.”

The application was granted planning permission more than a year ago, however it was still mired in planning regulations earlier this year when Southern Co-operative applied to have some conditions removed from the planning permission that had to be completed before building work started.

This was refused, with the company criticised by Chichester District Council.

A spokeswoman for Southern Co-Operative said: “We will now be looking at alternative uses to realise the value of the Stocks Lane site for our members, a number of which are located in the East Wittering area.”

What would you like to see done with the land? Comment below or write to chris.shimwell@chiobserver.co.uk

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