A popular pub in the heart of the South Downs National Park is set to be turned into a family home – after the landlord’s retirement plans were kicked out.
Ian Lewis has run The Rose Cottage in the tiny village of Alciston, near Polegate, for decades, scooping a series of awards along the way.
But, much to the disappointment of scores of walkers and day trippers wanting ploughman’s and pints, the landlord is due to call time on the premises.
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According to neighbours, converting it into a home is the “only option” for Mr Lewis and his wife Jenny to remain in the village after retirement.
This was because a previous application for a private dwelling on their own land adjacent to the pub was refused.
With a decision set to be made by the South Downs National Park Authority in the coming weeks, villagers are split on the news.
Commenting on the plan, John Fisher, who lives in the village, said: “If the landlord can’t retire and live in the village he was brought up in, by building his own house, what else do we expect?
“Yes he could sell the pub, but he would then have to move out of the village he has lived in for nearly 60 years.
“How can we make anybody do that? He is much more part of the village than the 95% of people who came to live here. It is his building, and irrespective of any other considerations, he should be allowed to do it.”
But John Hurwood, who lives in the village, said: “This pub helps the local economy and provides an amenity and an attraction for visitors. It would be greatly missed.
“The planning decision should be based on an overview of the Park’s need in the long term, another house or the valued asset that is there now.”
Fellow villager Geoff Watson said: “Rose Cottage represents an important facility to the new South Downs National Park.
“The pub attracts visitors all year round – many of whom go on to visit the church and the historic medieval farmstead in Alciston.”
Adrian Burrel, of Lewes Road, Selmeston, said: “Loss of amenity cannot be a reason for rejecting this application, as there are actually two public houses in the parish of Alciston.
“I assume that anyone that is against the application has just realised that it may affect the value of their own property.”
A decision is set to be taken by the authority by the end of this month.