Village pub closes

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Villagers are weighing-up their options following the closure of their pub and destination restaurant – and one might be to buy it themselves.

The Rose Cottage in Alciston off the A27 closed abruptly last month and the owner has applied for planning permission for change of use to a residential dwelling.

Alciston Parish Meeting has since voted unanimously to try to save the Grade II Listed building as a pub, either by purchasing it or by some other means.

It has applied to have the Rose Cottage listed with Wealden District Council as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ (ACV).

The pub was bought by Keith and Lesley Medhurst in March last year but it has ceased trading due to what has been described as ‘heavy financial losses’.

Mr Medhurst has now submitted a planning application to the South Downs National Park Authority for change of use. The property remains on the market with an asking price of £790,000.

Geoff Watkins, chairman of the Parish Meeting, said the best scenario would be for Mr Medhurst to sell the property as a public house or lease it out.

“If there is no possibility of either of these options happening we would consider members of the parish buying it collectively,” he said. “The Rose Cottage has wonderful potential.”

Mr Watkins said on Sunday he saw eight people waiting outside the pub unaware it had closed.

Mr Medhurst said the decision to close had been made “reluctantly”.

He said, “We were not achieving the figures we had hoped for. We were losing money.”

The national park authority has received several comments objecting to the proposed change of use.

One customer said, “Extremely disappointed and concerned to learn of this application to convert such a great pub into a house. For a village with no other pubs or shops the pub is an integral part of the village community serving both residents and visitors. If permission for conversion is granted I believe it would be a real loss to many people for generations to come.”