WHITCHURCH residents are hoping that the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) will understand that The Red House pub is an integral part of their town ahead of a planning debate on the future of the 18th century tavern.

The community is trying to convince the development control committee (DCC) of the council to reject a plan by the owner of the London Road pub to convert it into two houses.

At least six people are expected to speak against the application at the planning debate on Wednesday, July 6 when the committee members consider the application.

READ MORE: Whitchurch pub seeks permission to convert into houses

Among them are three BDBC councillors for Whitchurch – Cllr Chloe Ashfield, Cllr Colin Phillimore and Cllr Stephen Williams – and members of Whitchurch Town Council.

The planning officers of the borough have recommended that the application be approved with conditions.

In 2015, the pub's owners got planning permission to build houses in its big beer garden and car park. They argued that they were doing it to make the pub viable.

After the houses were built and sold, the owners closed the pub in 2018 saying they were “losing money every week".

Now they have applied for permission to change of use of the building itself from a public house to two dwellings – a two-bedroom house and a three-bedroom house.

Cllr Ashfield, who will be speaking at the debate, said The Red House pub is an integral part of the Whitchurch community and it should not get the change of use.

She added: “We feel that there is a great deal of evidence for the fact that the Red House should not be converted into two dwellings. I don't wish to say anything more than that ahead of the meeting. But we need the confidence that we can present a robust case.

“We need to be improving community amenities, not reducing them and pubs are the absolute fabric of our lives.”

There was a meeting of the residents and councillors in Whitchurch on Sunday to discuss the plan of action for the DCC meeting.

Nicholas Wade, a Whitchurch resident who has been studying the companies involved in The Red House pub deals, said the town already has limited pub facilities and the plan to convert The Red House into dwellings is unacceptable.

“This particular pub had garden facilities and a separate restaurant. So it was very good for the family community,” Mr Wade said.

“Also with the new housing that's being planned, including the plan for 350 new houses, there's going to be a greater need for public facilities like the pub-restaurant and garden to make the place much more livable.”

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