NEIGHBOURS have breathed a sigh of relief after a developer ditched plans to convert a pub in a conservation area into housing association flats.
The owner of the Cobden Arms pub in West Street, Havant, had previously successfully fought Havant Borough Council’s decision to turn down the plans in 2013.
But instead of creating nine en-suite flats, which would have been sold to a housing association, the developer has submitted a new application for five large flats.
Architect Martin Critchley, who is acting as an agent for the developer, said: ‘They are mainstream flats that will be on the open market.
‘It’s a case of the market changing in the interim period and it’s nothing to do with what the neighbours say.
‘It’s to do with the fact that the market is stronger.
‘Flat rentals for mainstream flats are very strong.
‘We’re not expecting any problems. We had consultations before and we’re mindful of that.
‘Originally there were nine suites and now there are five.’
When the original application went in, in 2012, Mr Critchley described the plans as ‘cheap and cheerful’ entry level housing.
It riled residents in West Street residents, including neighbour Lesley Petrie, who fought hard to try and stop the nine flats being built.
But she is now relieved about the changes and said: ‘I’ve spoken to other neighbours and we’re all pleased that it’s going to be five flats, rather than nine.
‘It’s going to be much more in keeping.
‘None of us wanted a house of multiple occupancy here.
‘These flats won’t cause any problems. It will be much, much better.’
Samantha Adams, director of neighbouring spa Chapel Medispa, said: ‘From a security point of view I’m very pleased a positive step is being taken with the pub.
‘It’s an eyesore and it isn’t secure.’
Because of the small number of flats involved the application is unlikely to go before the planning committee. A decision is expected in June.