VOTE: Deepwell gloom deepens as no buyer is interested

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Northchapel landlady Pat Gillham is making another bid to try to turn the Deepwell Inn into two homes after a four-year search to find someone to take it on as a pub has failed.

Mrs Gillham, now 76 and in failing health, has submitted several planning applications to turn the pub into private homes and has been refused permission every time.

She and her son appealed to a government planning inspector in 2006 after Chichester District Council refused their application.

Their appeal was dismissed after the inspector said he was not convinced there was no longer a need for the pub and that it had been marketed for long enough at the right price.

Last year they put in yet another plan to turn the pub into two homes only to receive yet another refusal.

But now Mrs Gillham and her son believe they have done everything they can and have once again submitted change of use plans.

Representing her, planning consultant Les Weymes has submitted a statement setting out their plight.

He said Mrs Gillham had continued to trade since the failed planning appeal nearly five years ago, but business was poor.

“Mrs Gillham’s son Mark has had to find independent employment as a result of the poor trade which they believe has been significantly affected by the government’s smoking ban in public places.

“Efforts to sell the Deepwell Inn as a going concern have continued with no offers having been received during the last four years.”

Mr Weymes said trading figures and reduced revenue at the pub suggested there was a limited local demand for the facilities.

There are two other drinking venues in Northchapel at the Half Moon and the Northchapel Working Mens Club.

Mr Weymes said the Half Moon had the advantage over the Deepwell of an off road car park, bed and breakfast accommodation, a large garden and was more obvious to passing traffic.

“It is considered that the village community of 600 residents would not be deprived of driving facilities if the Deepwell Inn were to close.”

He said the Deepwell had been marketed since May 2006.

The market was carried out by specialists in selling pubs and the price had been slashed from £495,000 in 2006 to its current £395,000 but there had been no takers.

“Mrs Gillham is now 76 and she is increasingly finding it difficult to manage the pub, particularly given that the revenue could not support employees.”

Deepwell Inn accountant Jean Calais-Hathaway has provided a letter commenting that the business was barely breaking even.