Initial plans to redevelop the site of Horsham’s Queens Head pub have been unveiled by its owners Hall and Woodhouse this week.
Members of Forest Neighbourhood Council were briefed on pre-application proposals to improve the pub’s current offering as well as the possibility of some residential development fronting on to New Street at a meeting on Monday night.
Plans were presented to councillors to hear their feedback. Ideas discussed included widening the offer of the pub to include coffees throughout the day, and an improvement to the dining facilities.
Liz Abraham, group head of property at Hall and Woodhouse, said: “The starting point is the commitment to keep the pub but we recognise it has become a little bit tired and we want to make it a public house which will be at the centre of the community.”
She added: “Let’s keep the public house but to afford some of the changes we need to make the site work a bit harder to make it pay for us.”
Paul Harrington, of Morgan Carey Architects, added: “The idea is to show the pub off itself and invest in it.”
He continued: “What can we do to the site to unlock some of the potential the site has?”
He explained that the pub itself and number 35 were both locally listed with the main building ‘having a charm of its own’.
The starting point had been to look at how the internal layout could be altered, while they had also looked at the ‘lower quality’ structures behind the pub.
Plans could see an extension to the rear for new kitchen facilities, four cottages fronting on to New Street and a parking court for residents behind the pub, accessed from Queen Street.
While the initial reaction from councillors was positive, several raised concerns over road safety.
Diane Sumpter, chair of Forest Neighbourhood Council, said: “There is a conflict with the crossing coming out with a pedestrian refuge and a bad junction. You have got everything you could possibly have there.”
Mr Harrington raised the possibility of incorporating some modifications to the junction with New Street as part of the proposals.
Ms Abraham added: “It may be this site is not the solution. We will try very hard but we may not be able to give you all you want.”
She said they hoped to be able to take the council’s feedback and be able to submit a planning application to Horsham District Council by the end of 2014.
Meanwhile later in the meeting Horsham Blueprint Neighbourhood Forum’s walkabout of Queen Street was discussed.
Frances Haigh, chair of Horsham Blueprint, which is aiming to draw up a Neighbourhood Plan for the unparished areas of the town, said that some of the issues raised included pavements, tidiness, and the possibility of a shop for lunch and coffee.
Bent road signs were also mentioned, what had happened to the approved plans to redevelop the derelict barber shop, and the ‘tatty’ state of the entrance to the Dairy Crest site.
Mrs Sumpter felt that one or two things in Queen Street looked a ‘bit tired’ especially many of the flower beds in front of the shops.
Forest Neighbourhood Council is seeking to fill several councillor vacancies. For more information email the clerk at email@example.com