Uncertain future for yard as firms move on

By Post  
Thursday 14th January 2016 10:00 am
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Holder Yard business units, now empty

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THE LAST tenant has left a yard in Petersfield that for around 70 years has been home to many small businesses, amid fears that houses will eventually be built there.

Although plans submitted last year to build ten houses in Holders Yard in College Street were withdrawn, there are fears another application is likely.

Nigel Soal rented a unit in the yard, and in 2010 he says his lease was changed to include a clause that meant he could be given three months notice.

This was implemented last year and on December 31 he left the yard after 11 years operating his car recovery business there.

He said: “I was devastated. I spent years building up my business. There aren’t any similar small business units to let in Petersfield, so I had to move to Rowlands Castle, which has cost me customers.

“The last tenant left early in January. Now it’s empty, it’s likely another plan for houses will be submitted.”

Barns and buildings in the yard were first offered for rent to family businesses after the Second World War by owner John Holder and his wife Nellie as small workshops with low overheads.

Since then many such businesses have flourished there, including Collins and White crash repair specialists, groundwork company HJ Doughty, and more recently tyre fitters, 2U Tyres.

It’s thought that at any one time up to six small businesses were based in the yard, providing work for around 15 people. Now those jobs are gone, says Mr Soal.

After Mr Holder died, his wife continued renting out the units until her death in August 2013.

Jean Edith Jones, also of College Street, was then appointed administrator of the estate of Mrs Holder.

It was representatives of the estate who submitted the 10-house planning application last March that was withdrawn after opposition from the Petersfield Society.

On March 8, the society said in a report to planners: “We object most strongly to this, to its hugely disappointing proposals and to the events leading to it’s submision in its current form.”

The report added that the Petersfield Neighbourhood Plan suggests a third of Holders Yard should be used for small business units, and two thirds for housing.

Petersfield Town Council said buildings in the yard were of historic interest and shouldn’t be demolished to make way for houses.

On March 23, South Downs National Park planners said the plans had been withdrawn. Solicitors working for the administrator of the estate were contacted for information about the yard’s future, but as the Post went to press they hadn’t replied.

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