Business owners in Aldwick have echoed the opinion of many residents as they back plans for the re-opening of a pub.
Richard Pearce, owner of Richard Pearce Hairdressing in Aldwick Street, said that with the village’s existing strong sense of community, the restoration of the Ship Inn pub would be the perfect ‘hub’ for Aldwick. “I think this is a great opportunity for the local people,” he said.
“Once it’s gone, and taken over, it’s gone forever. I would love it if it was used for something the community would like. It would be somewhere for people to go and socialise. Somewhere they could walk, or be taken to, it would be great for them.
“A pub really puts a hub into a community. Aldwick really has a strong sense of community and having somewhere that people can come and meet would be great.”
Among other concerns, Richard – as well as many others – said he had fears that traffic would worsen with a new shop – something that the road could not take much more of. “It’s quite a crowded road and we’re right outside. We’re quite concerned about congestion and parking and road safety and people crossing the roads and just in general.
“A large part of my client base do live here. We’re very much part of the community and very much the overwhelming opinions that we hear from the customers are that they don’t want a One Stop.
“I also think it would just be a lot tidier to not have cars coming and going every 30 seconds or lorries travelling. It’s just going to be quite messy out there.
“We have so many local people coming in asking us what’s going on over the road. I probably get asked seven or eight times a day what’s happening. People are concerned.
“I haven’t really heard anyone say that they like the idea. It definitely seems to be the consensus that people don’t want it. The damage it would cause in the road is just not worth it.”
“We’ve got a newsagency next door to us who have been serving the community for years. A new Tesco or store would be hard hitting for them. We’ve already got two Co-ops within half a mile.
What’s the point? If it’s not successful it’ll just close down and be left derelict for another few years like it has been until now.”
Akash Patel, along with his family, run the Tudor News Agency next to Richard’s hairdressers. Akash also felt that a pub was the preferred option in the village. “People don’t want this,” he said.
“We need a place where people can go and sit and relax, not another shop. If they come here it is not a good thing. People want smaller, local shops, particularly around here – not big ones.
“They want a place where they chat like a coffee shop or a pub. This road is bad enough as it is, it can’t take much more traffic.
“The parking part is already bad. Cars come down so fast, people are even having to use their horns, it’s all I can hear sometimes! The road is narrow so we can’t have two-way parking.
“If it’s a big shop, they will have deliveries and that means delivery drivers parking up for an hour at a time throughout the day. There just is not the space.”