OWNERS of an 18th century hotel – said to have once been visited by a young Queen Victoria – are looking to sell off a major chunk of the historic site.
Brewery Greene King says it wants to sell land around The Bear Hotel, in East Street, Havant.
This includes the large car park at the back of the coaching inn, which dates back to 1747.
Local history says Queen Victoria changed horses at the hotel in 1840 while on her way to Portsmouth.
The brewery has confirmed it is not marketing the pub and hotel for sale – which are listed buildings – but is seeking offers from developers about the car park.
It comes as another historic pub nearby, The White Hart, has been put on the market.
It is understood a private individual has bought the pub, which dates from 1889. It is not yet known what their intentions are for the building.
Havant Borough Council’s deputy leader David Guest said regeneration on the east side of the town centre was needed.
The area, which is home to many period properties, has been hit badly by the economic downturn, with several empty shops.
Cllr Guest said: ‘The complete redevelopment of the area would make a lot more sense rather than just putting something in the car park.
‘It needs to be done in a proper way. We have produced a development brief for the area. That area is very important.
‘It has listed elements. It needs to have a comprehensive, well-thought-through development solution. It needs a heart transplant in that area to get that area regenerated.’
A spokeswoman for Greene King said: ‘We’re not marketing the Bear Hotel for sale. However, we can confirm that we have instructed agents to explore any development opportunities for the extensive site around the Bear Hotel, for example its large car park area.
‘We would like to reassure customers the Bear Hotel is open for business as usual.’