WELL over 2,000 Aldwick residents have told councillors to Save Our Ship.
A petition with 2,416 names opposing the plans to turn the empty pub into a Morrisons convenience store was presented to Arun district councillor Gillian Brown.
The largest petition Aldwick has seen was collected in just 15 days.
It was handed over on Monday (December 8) to Cllr Brown (C, Aldwick E) by the Friends of the Ship’s petition organiser, David Gerrie.
The presentation was in advance of Arun District Council’s development control committee on Wednesday (December 17) which will debate the plans.
“This really does show the strength of public opinion,” he said.
“We just want Morrisons to listen to what is the democratic voice of the people.”
Cllr Mrs Brown said: “I’m pleased to receive the petition on behalf of the residents of Aldwick.
“I will do my best to put their concerns to the committee.
“By losing The Ship, it will rip the heart out of the village.”
The names were collected in Aldwick. The petition will continue until the committee meeting.
Some 75 protestors attended the handover at the Aldwick Street site.
Barbara Bullard-Smith, 64, said: “Everyone in my road – St Richard’s Drive – wanted to sign the petition.
“The only reason the pub was not a going concern is that the rent was too high.”
Aldwick resident Hannah Blouloux, 75, said: “This is about losing our heritage.
“If we lose The Ship, we will not have a nice meeting place.”
As reported, Morrisons submitted two applications to Arun.
One is to change the use of the building, build a small extension and alter the car park.
The other is for four signs for the proposed store.
The committee deferred a decision at its October meeting to enable road safety audits to be carried out.
Friends’ chairman Roger Beam said: “The audit carried out for Arun identified four road safety problems.
“One concerns crossing the road. The others relate to the configuration of the car park Morrisons want to do.
“The only proper course for Arun to do is to defer their decisions until these matters are sorted out.
“This is a unique problem. Morrisons have chosen the wrong place to put a store.
“It’s hazardous for pedestrians. Every one of them will have to cross this road.”