It is a very sad day for Whitchurch as work on the demolition of the Harvest Home commences. This historic pub is being pulled down without any requirement to have a permission in place for a change of use; a decision being allowed by the Basingstoke and Deane planners and their Cabinet member Rob Golding. An important part of Whitchurch’s character is being lost forever.Today the tiles are being removed, and the demolition company has moved its equipment on to the site. The building will follow the same fate as the Railway Hotel did last year; the contractors are the same.
Local residents, local Councillors, the Town Council and the Campaign for Real Ale have all decried the failure of the Borough to act. Despite petitions, lobbying, and a public meeting, no action was taken by the planners to protect the character of the building.
This is the third pub to be on this site, with the present building being of a traditional roadhouse design dating from the 1920’s. It was listed as a ‘building of local interest’ but that was shown to have no legal status.
CAMRA spokesman, and local resident John Buckley, said:
“The loss of such social facilities has far reaching repercussions from loss of employment for suppliers to ripping out part of a community’s heart.”
“Sadly Basingstoke had the ability to allow consultation, but chose not to allow local people to have a say on any change of use prior to demolition. CAMRA is continuing at national level to get the planning laws changed to force local Councils to consult when local amenities are under threat.”
Meanwhile, the developer has been ordered to set the hoarding back in line with the frontage of the other buildings in Winchester Street, but this has not yet been carried out.