CIVIC chiefs are being urged to approve plans to enlarge an 18th century pub which occupies an historic corner of the New Forest.

An application to build a single-storey extension to the Jolly Sailor at Ashlett Creek, Fawley, has been submitted to the National Park Authority (NPA).

Customers will be provided with a larger lounge bar if the proposal by Ashlett Pub Ltd is given the go-ahead.

The application includes a letter by planning agent Bob Hull, who refers to a period in which the watering hole was empty and boarded up.

He adds: “The pub is now fully operational again and the owners need to provide additional bar space.”

The Jolly Sailor is surrounded by Grade II-listed buildings, including Ashlett House and a former tide mill which once housed Esso Recreation Club.

A heritage statement which forms part of the application says: “In the 19th century Ashlett Creek was a hive of fishing and commercial activity. However, the creek is (now) more of a sleepy backwater which comes alive in the summer.

“The five-storey mill serves only as a reminder of the extensive operations seen by the creek in the 19th century.

“By the early 20th century the mill had ceased work and was used as a store for boatbuilding.”

In 1920 Ashlett Creek was used as a port during the construction of a small refinery which was the forerunner of the current petro-chemical complex.

Fawley’s first refinery was built by the Anglo Gulf West Indies (AGWI) Petroleum Corporation.

The statement adds: “The weather-boarded, single-storey extension on the east side (of the pub) takes the form a typical barn or outbuilding similar to those attached to Ashlett House.

“An extension identical in form, height and materials is proposed at the rear.”

The statement cites the “sensitive siting and design” of the proposed development, saying it would not have an adverse impact on the character and appearance of the pub.

It adds that the building’s historic core would continue to be visible.

“It’s important the building provides sufficient facilities to ensure it remains a functioning entity. The proposed extension would provide additional space and accommodate functions which would benefit the pub.

“There would be no impact on the setting of any of the Grade II-listed buildings.”