Battle awaits to save Hayling pub from development

An artist's impression of a new sheltered housing complex in Elm Grove, Hayling Island on the site of the Hayling Billy pub
An artist's impression of a new sheltered housing complex in Elm Grove, Hayling Island on the site of the Hayling Billy pub
The countryside surrounding Harting Down in the South Downs National Park, in West Sussex.

West Sussex has country’s ‘best quality of life’ for pensioners

  • Traders argue site in centre of Mengham should be used for community
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THE fight is on to save a pub site after plans were submitted to build a retirement complex.

Plans are afoot to redevelop the former Hayling Billy pub, in Elm Grove, and build 33 retirement homes.

The plans have been submitted by McCarthy & Stone and it comes in the wake of a similar retirement complex – submitted by Churchill Retirement Living for the nearby Pullingers site – being turned down by the government.

At an appeal, the government inspector agreed with objectors that it could cause ‘economic harm’ to Mengham, one of Hayling’s shopping areas.

Objectors fear losing the pub site and having a swathe of new homes will not help boost the shopping district.

An application has now been made to the council for the pub to be listed as a ‘community asset’.

If agreed, this would mean the site would have to be marketed for community use before any other plans can be considered.

Anthony Walker, who runs the nearby Bentley Walker business, said: ‘We don’t want an old people’s home.

‘We want amenities for the community – it could be a new health centre, maybe some shops with some parking.

‘We need this area – which has been like a village green for many years. We used to have events and fetes there. It can’t be sold off now.’

The 50-year-old pub closed in January after regulars put up a fight to save it.

The site is owned by the Southern Co-operative.

Not everyone is against the plans, however.

In a letter to Havant Borough Council, Pam Warner wrote: ‘The plan to build high-quality retirement apartments on this site is very welcomed.

‘The artist’s impression is fantastic and it will bring this part of Elm Grove back to life – this is what was needed.’

The retirement complex, if approved, would include 23 parking spaces.

Shane Paull, McCarthy & Stone’s regional managing director, said: ‘From the outset we have recognised car parking is a particular concern for residents on Hayling Island. We have therefore designed a layout which allows a much higher car parking ratio than McCarthy & Stone typically provides within its schemes.’