We are in the process of moving to a property in Amberley and are very disappointed to read about the closure of the Black Horse, not just for ourselves but because the loss of the village pub is threatening what we see as a excellent example of a successful, mutually sustaining small business community.
We first visited Amberley after seeing it mentioned in many tourist guide books. It’s a jewel in Horsham District Council’s crown.
Before the Black Horse’s closure, the village businesses - B&Bs ,shop, pub (with the only toilet facilities in the village available all day), tea rooms, pottery – seemed to work together to provide a viable community for residents and the facilities needed by walkers, cyclists and other visitors.
We can understand why the Black Horse wasn’t thriving. Unlike outstanding pubs in smaller villages such as Burpham and Tillington (both with excellent websites), the place felt tired and people commenting on Trip Advisor seemed to love the location but not the food.
But that doesn’t mean that a publican with a modern vision couldn’t make a pub serving good local food and beers work in this wonderful location.
Good websites play an enormous part in attracting people from outside the area and many places off the beaten track survive on this alone. If the developers are arguing that there isn’t enough passing trade, we would suggest that far more could be done online to encourage tourism and visiting trade to this idyllic village (we don’t believe that the Black Horse had a website).
The South Downs National Park’s website itself emphasises the importance to the character of the area of being able to ‘enjoy traditional ales in an English country pub’ and yet this is no longer possible in the centre of this important historic village.
We fully support the campaign being run by residents and hope that HDC will refuse the application for the change of use of the Black Horse to residential dwellings.
PAUL and DEE ALSEY
King George Street, Greenwich, London