PART of a former Hampshire pub is being demolished after planners approved proposals to turn the building back into a private house.

The Bridge Tavern at Ipers Bridge Road in Holbury has been targeted by burglars, vandals and fly-tippers since it served its last pint in 2014.

Now sections of the building are being torn down following a decision made by the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) two years ago.

The NPA approved plans to demolish 20th century extensions and build a two-storey addition which will mimic the design of the original house.


But people have taken to social media to express their dismay at the demolition, which has ended all hopes of the pub ever re-opening.

One woman wrote: “My mum and dad’s local. They would be mortified if they saw this and so would Bert and Mabel, who used to run it in the 60s.”

A fellow social media user posted: “Another part of our community history destroyed.”

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) had objected to the application. It said the owners should try to find a new landlord by lowering the rent, adding: “No real effort has been made to run the pub as a going concern.”

But NPA officers recommended members to approve the application. A report said: “There are other pubs nearby such as the Old Mill Inn at Hardley, some 800m from the Bridge Tavern. Further afield are the Forest Home in Holbury, the Langley Tavern and the Royal Oak at Hilltop.

“No objections from local residents have been received to the potential loss of the pub. The property was on the market for a year before the current owner purchased it, with the belief it could be a profitable part of a small chain of eight pubs. However, that proved not to be the case.”


The Bridge Tavern was at the centre of a “pig-napping” drama in 2013. Pickles, a life-sized model of a pig, was smuggled out of the pub by a group calling itself Fair Play For Drinkers (FPFD), which was protesting against the rising cost of beer.

The pub launched a “Free Pickles” campaign after receiving ransom notes made up of individual letters and words cut out of various publications.