Troubled era ends at Midhurst pub

Going, going... and finally gone. One of Midhurst's oldest pubs has closed after a troubled few years and is up for sale.

Enterprise Inns has washed its hands of the 300-year-old Crown in historic Edinburgh Square and is marketing the freehold for 775,000.

The agents handling the sale say the location of the Grade II listed pub away from the commercial heart of Midhurst, and competition from other drinking houses in the town, have effectively put it out of

business.

But residents in the square say its chequered history over the past decade, including its more recent association with rowdyism and under-age drinking, have contributed to its demise.

In the summer of 2007, some neighbours claimed they were terrified of walking through the square during a late weekend evening because of the anti-social behaviour of young drinkers at the Crown.

The 22-year-old landlord hit back, dismissing allegations of mismanagement as fictitious.

The claims sparked a debate about the need for alcohol-free zones in Midhurst. One resident said this week: "The landlord went and we thought the next one would be better. But the pub had gone so far, it was beyond rescue."

Stuart Clark, from chartered surveyors Marshall Clark in Worthing which is handling the sale, said Enterprise Inns had set no ground rules about the future use of the building.

The company would not preclude the building's continuation as a pub.

"No-one is saying it cannot go on being used as a pub. It is a completely open book.

"If there was someone who wanted a freehold pub, Enterprise Inns would not have any problem selling it to them," Mr Clark said.

"The company has no preference as to whether it continues as a pub or becomes a restaurant or a wine bar, or converts to residential use,

subject to planning consents.

"It is possible it is more likely to convert into quality residential units, but we are not marketing it with any pre-conceived ideas."

A spokeswoman for Enterprise Inns said: "The decision to dispose of any of our pubs is not taken lightly and not before every possible option has been carefully explored."

Another familiar pub is on the market – the Deepwell Inn overlooking the village green at Northchapel.

Run by the same family for 20 years, it is on the market for 495,000.

Attempts in recent years to gain planning consent to convert the pub for residential use failed.

Agents Fleurets at Brighton describe it as 'a genuine retirement sale'.

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