A campaign has been launched to stop a landmark Horsham pub from being bulldozed.
Brewer Hall and Woodhouse has put forward plans to demolish The Fountain Inn pub in Rusper Road and build five homes, but these were deferred by Horsham District Council last month to see if all avenues have been explored to find a buyer and keep it open.
Richard Street, a Rusper Road resident, has launched a campaign to stop the building’s demolition.
He said: “It would be a real shame if it did get knocked down without anyone having tried to save it.”
For him the two main issues were that the pub had not been invested in over the last four years, while he also felt more could be done to market the pub, with no for sale signs outside the property.
Mr Street added: “Pubs are important for meeting people.
“There’s so few places where you can go and meet different people. It’s just a really good environment for meeting people and without pubs you will lose that.”
He has written to all the candidates for the Roffey ward North in the upcoming Horsham District Council elections, has set up a Facebook page and an online petition, has distributed leaflets, and has contacted all the independent brewers in Sussex.
His ideal vision for the pub would be for it to be taken over by a free house, serving good food and real ale, and while he conceded this would take time and money, he thought the prospect would be ‘fantastic’.
Paul Lamb, who has been coming to the pub for more than 40 years since he moved to Horsham, added: “It was just a pleasant place to come and it’s been a landmark and it’s very sad to see pubs failing.”
Landlord Jason Matthews, who has been at the Fountain Inn for more than three years, said Hall and Woodhouse had helped him out ‘immensely’, and while he wanted to see it remain open he said that residents, in particular young people, were just not using the pub.
During the HDC Development Control North Committee meeting last month Liz Abraham, of Hall and Woodhouse, said that the pub had been marketed as a going concern for six months. She told the meeting that trade had declined by 43 per cent since 2009 at the Fountain Inn under four separate tenants.
But councillors deferred plans to give the company more time to market the pub.
To view the petition visit http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-the-fountain-inn