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Yateley pub earmarked for new housing site

The pub's owner, Hugh Asher, has struggled to get customers through the doors

The Highwayman pub in Yateley

A Yateley pub owner is considering calling time as plans are lodged to build eight houses on the prime development site.

Hugh Asher said he had poured £100,000 into The Highwayman over the last few years to keep it afloat but he ‘could not afford to lose any more money’.

Pre-application advice has been sought from Hart District Council to turn the Monteagle Lane venue into eight detached houses.

Hailing from South Africa, Mr Asher, who has owned the pub for four years, said it was with regret that he was considering selling up.

“Most pubs these days are unviable, people are not going out as much as they used to,” he said

“I have tried to get people in at the weekends by putting on tribute acts and the best bands I can afford, but people are not using the pub as they used to.

“People are not taking advantage of what is there.

“If The Highwayman was on the high street, things may have been different as we would have got passing trade. We get no night time passing trade.

“We have not had one person in for lunch today despite having all the chefs on, heating, lighting and so on.”

Offering regular entertainment plus a blend of seasonal English and Mediterranean dishes in its restaurant area, the pub underwent an interior refurbishment last year.

Mr Asher has hosted various charity events over the years, raising thousands of pounds for local organisations such as Yateley charity Adam’s Hoofing Hut, Parity for Disability in Farnborough and Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice in Farnham, as well as national charities including Help For Heroes and Parkinson’s UK.

He has sponsored the town’s football clubs and also hosted the Yateley’s Got Talent competition.

The submitted pre-application proposal relates to the redevelopment of the existing site for residential development.

A shared parking courtyard serving all eight properties is proposed with 20 car parking spaces available, equating to two spaces per house, plus four shared visitor spaces.

Mr Asher said: “It is a good area for re-development as The Highwayman is in a residential area.

“There is a huge shortage of affordable housing, so it would be good for the local economy.”

There are five other pubs in Yateley; The Anchor, The White Lion, The Dog and Partridge, The Royal Oak and The Cricketers.

Sarah King, from AKT Planning and Architecture and who submitted the application, said: “Whilst the public house has seen reasonable trading figures, its location within a suburban housing area, leaves its trading opportunities heavily constrained compared to the higher profile central public houses, which attract more passing trade.

"I would stress that the design and layout of the site is very much open to discussion and we welcome the council’s input in this respect.”

Earlier this year, the district council issued a new set of conditions following a review of the premises licence.

Hampshire Constabulary called for the examination of the licence following two serious incidents that took place by the pub last year.

As well as providing the police each month with an advance list of live music and entertainment events, the conditions agreed in January, meant Mr Asher had to be present on Friday and Saturday nights and improvements had to be made to CCTV management.

 
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