WORK to convert a former popular community pub into retirement homes is set to start this month.
The Hayling Billy in Elm Grove on Hayling Island closed in January last year after regulars’ pleas to save it fell on deaf ears.
We do not want the development and it should never have been allowed.Anthony Walker
Anthony Walker, who runs the nearby satellite and broadband firm Bentley Walker, said: ‘We do not want the development and it should never have been allowed.
‘Even though I am a businessman and should welcome more business, I’m born and bred on the island and we are spoiling it by overdeveloping.
‘We should be looking to keep people on the island.’
Mr Walker added he has concerns about the increased pressure it will put on emergency services getting on to the island and fears that the development does not have enough parking.
But the plan was approved by the borough council. Councillor David Guest, cabinet lead for economy, planning, development and prosperity, said there was no reason not to give the application consent.
Cllr Guest added he thinks the properties will be filled very quickly.
Kim Caldwell, regional sales and marketing director for McCarthy & Stone, said: ‘Our Hayling Island development has already attracted significant levels of interest from local people who are interested in downsizing to a lower-maintenance property.
‘McCarthy & Stone is committed to designing flexible homes which are sensitively designed to reflect the character of the neighbourhood, and to allow people to make the most of their retirement years and live as independently as possible for as long as possible.
‘We have no doubt our Hayling Island development will continue to prove extremely popular.’
After being sold by the Southern Co-operative to McCarthy & Stone, a planning application was submitted to Havant Borough Council to convert the building into 33 one and two-bedroom retirement apartments.
As reported by The News, campaigners looked to block the planning application, saying that losing the pub site and having a swathe of new homes would not help boost the shopping district and application was made to the council for the pub to be listed as a ‘community asset’.