Plans to demolish the Smith & Western restaurant in Horsham and replace it with 23 flats have been submitted to the district council.
The restaurant has been in North Parade for 25 years but business has been ‘a challenge’ recently, according to the application.
The owners now hope to move the restaurant into the town centre, with the current site being used for a 3.5-storey block of one, two and three-bedroom flats.
Eight of the homes will be affordable and the building itself will be similar in height to the neighbouring Tulip Court, on North Parade, and Delancey Court, on Wimblehurst Road.
A design statement from RDJW Architects said: “The owners of the Smith & Western Restaurant, Mr & Mrs Tommy Cox, have been present on this site for 25 years since its conversion from a public house.
“They have found trading on this site a challenge in recent years, due to its location away from the centre of the town.
“They are currently actively looking at possible sites within the town centre to relocate the restaurant to.”
The application has already attracted several objections from nearby residents.
One described the development as ‘yet another large overbearing block of flats’ and raised concerns about what they called a ‘very busy road with a ridiculously tight corner to Wimblehurst Road’.
They added: “I cannot tell you how angry and disappointed I am over this.”
Others questioned the level of parking being proposed, the narrowness of the surrounding roads and possible loss of privacy for existing residents.
Hundreds of readers took to the County Times’ Facebook page to comment.
One felt it was ‘nice to have something to break up all the housing, somewhere people can get together and socialise outside the town’, adding: “I love the town I grew up in, all my family and friends are here but I really think that it’s becoming unrecognisable and losing its community.”
A number of commenters shared their happy memories at the restaurant and expressed the hope that Smith & Western would be able to reopen in the town centre,
Meanwhile others raised concerns about the extra strain on services and infrastructure the new flats would have on the town.
To view the application, log on to public-access.horsham.gov.uk and search for DC/19/1527.
The council has also received an application to build four to six homes on greenfield land in Cowfold have been submitted to Horsham District Council.
The applicant has asked for permission in principle to build the houses on a 0.7 hectare site along Brook Hill.
‘Permission in principle’ was introduced last year and is a new route to planning permission for small developments. It first looks at whether a site is suitable for development before then considering the technical details.
To view the application, log on to public-access.horsham.gov.uk and search for DC/19/1547.