Developer withdraws Horsebridge pub demolition plans

The White Hart Pub, Horsebridge (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-160317-082953008

The White Hart Pub, Horsebridge (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-160317-082953008

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Developers have withdrawn controversial plans to demolish a village pub in Horsebridge after opposition from local residents.

Plans to demolish the White Hart pub, near Hellingly Rugby Club on London road, were first submitted in March leading to a number of objections.

Developers argued that the pub, which has been up for sale without an offer for more seven years, is no longer a viable business for its owners and put forward plans to build seven new houses on the site.

But the plans were withdrawn earlier this month after several residents and local groups – including Hellingly Parish Council – asked for an alternative solution.

In a letter submitted to Wealden planners, a spokesman for the parish council planning committee said, “While the committee are aware that the commercial aspect of the public house is no longer viable, it would like to see further investigation on whether the property would be suitable for conversion rather than being demolished.”

The letter adds that the committee is not against the principal of development on the site but had concerns over parking and traffic on nearby roads.

Other residents also raised concerns about the project on social media.

One user, Robert Blunden, said, “That is utterly disgraceful. If enough people are against it, it can be stopped.”

Another, Luke Hyne, said, “The only way to get this refused would be for everyone to object with the planning office.”

In an open letter to residents, the White Hart’s landlady Les Whitehouse said she would be closing the pub as she and her husband Tim Whitehouse wished to retire.

She said, “We have had the White Hart Public House on the market for the past seven years at the market value with no takers. We have reached retirement age now and would like to sit back and relax.

“My Husband is 73, 18 months ago he underwent a quadruple heart bypass which he was very lucky to come through. Needless to say he needs less stress in his life. It is with regret we have to give up the White Hart. It is through necessity, my husband’s health comes first.”

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