More than 250 residents in Broad Oak Brede near Rye have signed a petition calling for their local pub to reopen.
Katy Weitz started the campaign to bring back The Rainbow Trout in Chitcombe Road, which has been closed for about 16 months, after becoming exasperated at the ‘sad sight’ of the boarded up building.
Bedford Parks developments, which plans to build eight new homes on the site of the pub garden, has promised to invest in and reopen the pub.
But Katy said planning permission had not yet been granted for the homes and said residents felt ‘really let down’ that the pub remained closed.
The 43-year-old campsite owner said: “There were so many warm words and promises made and it was all about how they were going to invest and make it a great pub.
"We feel really let down.
“Our village has lost a vital community asset, as well as a source of local revenue and jobs.”
However a spokesman Bedfork Parks confirmed that, while it had taken longer than planned, the pub was due to open before the summer.
A new plumbing and heating system has been installed in the building, which was empty when the developers bought it, the spokesman said.
The spokesman hoped that the community would support the pub once it was back open.
Among the residents who signed the petition was Mark Adams, who commented: “This was a great pub, it should never have been closed.”
Sara Witney, who also commented on the petition, said: “We need this pub open – so many are shutting – I have been using it for 34 years.”
Residents are calling on Rother District Council to make a decision on the planning application and plan to present the petition to councillors at the next council meeting.
A Rother District Council spokesman said while it appreciated residents’ desire for a decision on the application, it was important to follow correct procedure.
The spokesman said: “There have been a number of issues which have delayed a decision on this application, including the need for amended plans to be provided and a change in respect to provision of affordable housing.
“Whereas previously the developer would have provided a sum of money in lieu of building affordable housing unit on the site, they will now build three affordable homes as part of the development.
“A report has been circulated to members, who delegated authority to the head of planning to grant planning permission on completion of a Section 106 agreement – the legal document in which the developer agrees to build these affordable housing units as a condition of planning consent.
“The applicant has agreed to enter into this agreement, which is currently being drafted by the council’s legal department.
“Once completed and signed the decision will be issued.”
The spokesman added that the pub, its car park and part of the pub garden area fell outside of the application site and would not be affected by it.
“There’s nothing to stop the owner reopening the pub now or in the future,” the spokesman said.
View the petition here.
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