The Whyke community is rallying to try to save its only pub from being turned into housing.
A planning application has been submitted to turn Muchos Nachos, formerly The Crown, into five new homes from the new owners of the building.
The family who run the successful pub and Mexican restaurant say the first they knew of the plans was a planning notice placed outside.
A host of local groups are said to be joining the fight to save the Grade II listed pub, including football team Whyke United who are sponsored by Muchos Nachos, residents and parents of children at neighbouring schools, the St Richard Singers and the WRAP Community Choir.
Co-owner Omer Celik has run Muchos Nachos with his cousin and nephew for the past eight years.
He said: “When we took over it was shut and we have worked hard to give it life and make it a family place.
“Our landlords have changed three times. It was Green King, they sold to Hawthorn Leisure and three months ago Grace Holdings Ltd bought it and they have now put in a planning application to make it housing without notifying us.
“We are a family business who use local suppliers and we have always paid our rent on time so this is very sad.
“We have nine staff and they are worried about losing their jobs.
“They have worked here a long time and know all our customers and feel like this is their own place.”
Campaigners, including Green Party members Sarah Sharp and Heather Barrie and Jenny Cole, are asking people to gather at the pub in Whyke Road from 5pm on Friday, May 12, to discuss a plan, which could include trying to get the building listed as a community asset.
Scores of objections have been submitted on Chichester District Council’s planning portal to the plans (reference 17/01143/LBC), to turn the site into five new homes. New objections have to be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org before May 16.
Heather Barry, the Green’s Chichester parliamentary candidate, said: “There has been a coaching inn, hostelry, pub in Whyke since the 17th century and to lose another independent business which is thriving, as well as jobs, would be a travesty.”
Grace Holdings Ltd has been approached for comment.
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