Tonight, the B&DBC approved the application to change the site of the Railway Pub into a temporary car park.

The development and control committee heard arguments against the application from local resident Mike Stead and Councillor Keith Watts. Speaking for the application was their consultant at JTS Partnership.

The webcast of the meeting can be viewed HERE – the item about the Railway starts at 2:13:34 (i.e. 2 hours, 13 minutes, and 34 seconds) into the video.

Another change to the application was made right at the meeting: the developer will change the species of tree to beech.

Our local MP, Sir George Young said prior to the decision, “It is always sad when a pub closes, and I have enjoyed the odd pint at the Railway before it was demolished. The Coalition Government is working up proposals that would enable the local community to take over pubs such as the Railway under its ‘Big Society’ umbrella.”

The developer was asked by the committee if the chain link fencing should be changed, as it is the first thing seen by commuters arriving to Whitchurch by train. The developer said, “It is not necessary…[we] don’t want people to dump rubbish behind [a solid one] or causing a security issue…it is a temporary car park application…we personally don’t think it is necessary”.

The debate on the application by the committee lasted about 4 minutes. One councillor commented on the sad sate of pub closures and said that pubs are “viable until Punch taverns get their hands on it”. Another wondered what the site would become if the application was not approved – “a possible unofficial travellers site?”. Lastly, it was asked how long “temporary” was for – the answer: 3 years.

The application was approved with the conditions stated in the report.

Sir George stated earlier,  “Whitchurch is fortunate to have a number of good local pubs to which residents can go – thought I appreciate it is a long walk to the nearest one”.

A video showing the pub being demolished is on YouTube HERE.

Reaction by a CAMRA director to the demolishing is also on YouTube, HERE.