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Pub supporters' car park fears
A FORMER pub that is being knocked down could be turned into a commuter car park.
The Railway Inn on Station Road, Whitchurch closed around nine months ago, and was bought by Lochailort Investments Limited.
The company is demolishing the building, and has submitted plans to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to use the land as a temporary pay-and-display car park.
But a campaign group claim the site should still be a pub.
Founder of the group, John Buckley from Whitchurch, who is the regional director of the Campaign for Real Ale, said: “It was built as a pub and it should be sold as a pub. The planning system has failed. It was given planning permission for the demolition but not for change of use. It’s still officially a pub.”
He questioned where the cars attracted to the temporary car park would go, once the developers decided to end the project and build flats instead.
He said: “Where are these cars that have all come to Whitchurch going to go? Before they get planning permission to change it to anything other than a pub they should have to prove it’s not viable as a pub.”
Demolition work on the Railway Inn (pictured) started at the beginning of the month.
The car park application is for up to 47 vehicles, acting as an overspill for commuters with additional parking for residents and visitors.
A report submitted to the council said that parking is a major issue in the area and the site could alleviate some of these problems for a temporary period.
No one from Lochailort Investments Limited was available to comment about their plans.
Kat Auckland, PR and Communications Manager for Punch Taverns, which ran the pub, said they had tried to keep it open.
She added: “Following the sale of the freehold, it was the decision of the current owner to decide the pub’s future.”