“WE WILL fight it all the way.”

Those were the words of defiant campaigners against controversial plans to bulldoze a Hampshire pub in favour of retirement homes.

The plans look set to go before councillors after developers put in a planning application.

However, action to try and prevent it is already under way.

Developer McCarthy & Stone wants to build 27 retirement apartments on the site of the Harrier Inn, in Hamble.

It has now submitted proposals to Eastleigh Borough Council, which will go before planners in June.

The plans include car parking and a vehicle access point.

McCarthy & Stone said the pub was likely to close due to a fall in trade in recent years, which had led to it being no longer financially viable.

It claims that pub owner Enterprise Inns had received interest from a number of high street supermarkets, but felt that elderly people’s housing would contribute more locally.

The firm warned that, if the bid was unsuccessful, the site was likely to be sold to a national supermarket, which could develop the site without planning permission.

McCarthy & Stone’s regional managing director Shane Paull said the development would be sensitive and address a local need for such accommodation and mean investment of around £5m into the local economy.

The firm pointed to a survey which revealed less than one in five Hamble residents surveyed visit the Harrier Inn.

But Tracy Vann, the pub’s head chef who founded the ‘Save the Harrier’ campaign, disagreed with the survey findings and argued that the pub has not declined in trade and was doing better than ever.

She said the campaign already had 2,000 signatures and they were now contacting local councillors.

Tracy said the Harrier Inn was the only pub left outside the village centre and elderly people relied on it to avoid isolation.

She added there was no need for more elderly people’s homes or another supermarket, there was too much development already in the area and that the development would increase traffic, air pollution and noise.

“This is a community centre as well as a pub. We’re fighting all the way,” she added.

Enterprise Inns did not want to comment, but has previously said how it identified pubs “unable to deliver an appropriate level of sustainable income” and that after careful consideration it had decided to sell the Harrier Inn.

Consultation ends on April 18.