OUTRAGED regulars are fighting to keep their Pagham hotel open.
The customers at the King’s Beach Hotel have launched a petition to try to persuade its owner, Fuller’s brewery, to scrap a proposal to sell the distinctive 1930s building with 11 bedrooms on The Parade.
They had signed up 239 people in the first week. Petition organiser Rob Castle, 45, of Lagoon Road, said: “There are a lot of people who want to keep the pub and hotel as it is. It’s a fantastic place. We don’t want to lose it.
“People can have a tea or coffee during the day. They don’t have to drink alcohol.
“We’re losing our beach in Pagham. We don’t want to lose our only pub in the area as well. We have to keep something in the community. Otherwise, we will be wiped off the map.”
He said the King’s Beach was the only pub in southern Pagham. The others were all clustered around Nyetimber, at least half a mile away.
“There is nowhere else for people to go around here. There is the Pagham Club and the yacht club, but they are not the same as the hotel,” he said.
He intended to campaign for the building to be listed as a community asset to offer it some short-term protection.
Another regular, Brian Williams, 68, of Harbour Road, said: “I dread to think what I’m going to do if the King’s Beach goes. I’ve been coming here for 30 years. I’m a widower and it’s a meeting place for me three or four times a week.”
He praised the work of Kevin and Patricia Harrington who took on the pub last May. They had expanded the meals and improved the decor.
Tenant licensee Mr Harrington, 50, said: “I love Pagham. I love the King’s Beach. It’s got character. It’s like an escape being here in a world of its own.
“Closing the hotel is going to rip the heart out of the community.”
He was delighted with people’s response to the threat of closure.
He said he had been told his last day would be August 15.
It is believed Fuller’s is in talks to sell the pub for a convenience store.
A spokeswoman said: “The King’s Beach Hotel has been on the market since the middle of 2013. We are considering a variety of options for the future of the site.”