A PLANNING inspector has approved the demolition of a Yapton pub.
Gerry Hollington said The Lamb Inn could be torn down and replaced by housing.
His decision follows an appeal by Orchard Homes and Punch Taverns against Arun District Council’s refusal of planning approval for the 14 dwellings.
But villagers are hoping the developers will live up to their pledge to leave the historic pub building by converting it into two dwellings as part of the wider development.
Villager Andrew Knight said Orchard had appeared to listen to the community by adjusting its latest application – which has yet to be decided by Arun – to retain the pub.
But the inspector’s decision meant the company could demolish it if it wanted to.
“We are hoping that, given the circumstances, Yapton Parish Council and Arun District Council will allow this second application as this is the only chance we have of retaining this building.
“Then, we just have to hope that Orchard are as good as their word.
“This does seem a rather unfair situation and one where all the power is in the hands of the developers and not with the community and councils.
“If, as we hope, this second application is successful it is now up to the developer alone to decide the fate of The Lamb Inn.”
He pointed out the original application attracted 49 objections and a 115-name petition to the loss of the pub which had stood at an entrance to Yapton for more than 200 years.
But there had been no objections to the latest plan which kept the pub.
In his decision, Mr Hollington said it had been shown The Lamb would need massive investment to make it acceptable to modern customers.
“As the building dates from the 18th century, The Lamb has some historic interest but... it is not on the local list of buildings or structures of character.
“The building has been extensively altered and extended to the extent its character and appearance have been compromised.”
He rejected Arun’s reason for refusing the housing by saying it would not have an unduly overbearing impact on the nearby Well House by restricting the amount of light. But he did impose 18 conditions on the development to ensure it did not harm the area’s character and appearance or existing trees.