FOR more than 400 years, a pub has stood on the site of the Sussex Pad.
But that could now change after preparations were made for the hotel to close.
The hotel, in Old Shoreham Road, has cancelled hotel bookings and 12-week redundancy notices have been given to the 32 full and part-time staff members who work there.
A customer who contacted the Herald was told by a staff member the business would probably be sold before June, and there were no plans to keep it as a restaurant or hotel.
However, Sue Pack, who owns the Sussex Pad with her husband Wally, said contracts had not yet been exchanged and “nothing was certain”.
The business had been on the market for 18 months, but had not yet attracted a buyer, she said.
She said she and Wally had not wanted to sell the business but had been forced to put it on the market because of the difficult economic conditions and because of Wally’s health.
“We can’t keep going. Do you think I want to make my staff redundant?” she said.
Rumours have circulated about Lancing College buying the business, but Mrs Pack did not comment and the college’s bursar, Pauline Bulman, said she was not able to confirm the rumours.
Frances Smith, founder of Lancing Regeneration Community Committee, said the loss of the Sussex Pad as a restaurant was sad for the whole area, including Shoreham and Worthing.
She said: “It was a prestigious venue around here, and there were lots of meetings and that sort of thing held there.
“It’s also been used by the airport and parents visiting their children at Lancing College. We’re really going to miss it.
“And it’s not just Lancing – it will also be missed by Worthing, Shoreham and the whole area. It was so well known. It really is a bitter blow.”
Chris D’Santos phoned the Herald to say he had been told by a staff member at the hotel it was closing.
He said: “The girl I spoke to sounded incredibly upset. It’s a shame. It’s one of the premier places to eat in the area. I’ve been there to have some very good meals. It’s quite sudden. It’s been there for years.”
The original Sussex Pad, which was destroyed in a fire in 1905, dates back to the 15th century.
Lancing College owns land near the site of the Sussex Pad, which connects with Lancing Ring.