A HISTORIC village watering hole dating back to the 1500s may see its car park halved after the company which owns it revealed plans to build new homes.

Stonegate, the owners of The Kings Arms pub, in Main Road, wants to put two residential dwellings next to the property, meaning the pub car park will be reduced from 25 spaces to 12.

The application also calls for a new “proposed access” for the A133 to serve the new properties and for the village’s existing bus stop to be moved approximately 15 metres west to improve accessibility.

Christopher Walpole, who lives in the heart of Frating, set up the Friends of Frating in response to the planning application with the goal of protecting the two remaining historically significant buildings in the village – the memorial hall and the Kings Arms pub.

Gazette: Protest - Frating residents protested one part of Stonegate's proposal to move the town's existing bus shelterProtest - Frating residents protested one part of Stonegate's proposal to move the town's existing bus shelter (Image: Friends of Frating)

With more than 70 people on the mailing list, and about six in the ‘core group’, Christopher said the plans for the changed car park are very unpopular.

“This is absolutely crazy and you would have a non-viable business," he added.

Veronica Morris, of Frating Parish council, is also unhappy. 

She added: “This planning application is detrimental to the heritage and wellbeing of Frating and its residents."

“To drastically reduce the patrons parking at the Kings Arms would undoubtedly affect the viability of its trading, after creating unsafe or illegal parking in our village.

"If passed this planning application will damage livelihoods and a much-valued community asset.”

Gazette: Busy - 18 car spaces were taken at 2 in the afternoon on a SaturdayBusy - 18 car spaces were taken at 2 in the afternoon on a Saturday (Image: Friends of Frating)

Veronica also said “with the number of recorded accidents in the direct vicinity on the 40mph road” it would be dangerous to add new houses, particularly to pedestrian safety.

Historian Rob Butcher, who also lives in the village, explained how the pub has been in the building since 1925 with deeds for current building existing from at least the 1790s.

He added: “In 1922, the author Alan Bennett stopped for a meal and recorded his experience in his novel Mr Prohac.

"This book was filmed in 1949. Landlords have included Jack Edwardes, a television star of the 1950s and 1960s who often starred with Charlie Drake.”

John Barrington is a member of the Friends of Frating.

He said: “If they succeed, and the pub loses much of its already inadequate car park, it would be the thin end of the wedge because if this goes ahead we can easily imagine the consequences for this historical heritage site and the rest of our village."

Bosses at Stonegate have now responded to the concerns.

A spokesman said: “The Kings Arms in Frating will be reducing the size of its car park, to align with the needs of the business.

"The pub will still have their car park available for guests, and minimal disruption will take place at this time.”

The public consultation period for the application close today.