‘Shame’ to lose North Chailey pub

Kings Head pub, North Chailey (photo from Google Maps Street View)
Kings Head pub, North Chailey (photo from Google Maps Street View)

A pub in North Chailey is set to be lost for good as its conversion was approved earlier this week.

The Kings Head, in East Grinstead Road, has been vacant for three years.

Back in 2016 permission was granted at the site for nine home, four apartments and refurbishment of the public house including the conversion of the first floor into two apartments and an extension to the rear.

However marketing has been unsuccessful with nobody coming forward to lease the public house.

Therefore Bedford Park Developments wants to convert the ground floor of the Kings Head into office space.

An application for a change of use was approved by Lewes District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday February 20.

A separate application to convert the ground floor into two further residential flats was also approved in case there are no takers for the office space.

Ben Ellis, from Bedford Park Developments, described some of the negative feedback of the site as its location, competition nearby and changes in the market.

He said: “We have tried our best but we must face reality as it’s been vacant for three years.”

Mike Lethem, speaking for Chailey Parish Council, argued that one of the conditions of the previous development site had been for the Kings Head to remain a pub.

He suggested given the top floor had been converted into flats the pub should have been marketed at a lower price and this in turn might have attracted more interest.

He added: “The pub has changed and not been marketed to take into account the changes that have occurred.”

Tom Jones (Con, Ditchling and Westmeston) said: “Whilst I have listened to what the last speaker said I think we have to go ahead with the application.”

Jim Sheppard (Con, Newick) said: “It’s a shame because this was a nice pub and it still looks like a nice pub.”

Sharon Davy (Con, Chailey and Wivelsfield), chair of the committee, added: “I think its a great loss to lose a pub in any village.

“But it’s been empty for quite a long time and it would be a quite a challenge for anyone to take on.”