Sort file:- Tonbridge, January, 2023.

Page Updated:- Sunday, 22 January, 2023.


Earliest ????

Bishop's Oak

Closed 2010

Shipbourne Road


Bishop's Oak

Above photo, date unknown.

Bishop's Oak sign 1991

Above sign, November 1991.

With thanks from Brian Curtis


I am not yet certain whether this one operated as a Harvester, but I have seen an advert dated 1967 that was giving a welcome to a newly opened public house at Shipbourne Road in August 1967.

Further research has turned up a match box sold at the establishment and it shows it was obviously a Harvester at the time of production, and Richard Adam confirms that was just called the Harvester in the late 1970s-80s when he lived there, but goes on to say that it wasn't part of that national chain with the same name.


Bishop's Oak Harvester match box

Above matchbox, date unknown, kindly sent by Debi Birkin.

From the December 17, 2010.

Controversial plans for pub withdrawn.

THE developer behind controversial plans to build homes on a Tonbridge pub's beer garden has withdrawn its proposals.

London-based Reef Estates has scrapped its plans to build three houses on the slice of land next to the "Bishops Oak" pub in Shipbourne Road.

In a statement sent to residents via Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, the firm said it would not be proceeding with the application.

But it has refused to comment on its future plans for the site – leading to fears it still wants to develop the land.

And the company is still pushing on with converting the pub's first-floor four-bedroom flat into two flats, the permission for which will be decided at a borough council area planning meeting in January.

Residents have lodged several objections to the homes plans.

They have said the buildings will overlook their currently secluded gardens and the opening of the driveway on to Shipbourne Road could pose a danger to pedestrians and drivers.

Frank Rennie, of Harvest Road, said: "The first floor of the three dwellings would allow the residents to have uninterrupted views into the whole of my back garden and rear windows.

"I find it an unacceptable intrusion into my privacy and amenity."

Richard Zehntnet, of Shipbourne Road, added: "The windows at the rear of the proposed development would overlook our rear garden, and therefore be impinging on our privacy."

The Civic Society's Janice Browne also objected, saying it would be better if just two properties were built instead of three.

She said: "Completely filling the Shipbourne Road frontage as it does, the terrace of the three properties is out of character with the adjacent residential properties.

"The parking area in front would have a negative effect on the street scene.

"If it is to be developed separately, the site would better accommodate two properties.

"This would allow scope for normal parking provision and front gardens."

The Courier reported in November how Reef Estates bought the pub from Enterprise Inns for 1.33 million in August, and quickly submitted three planning applications to regenerate the eyesore.

These included the beer-garden houses plan, the flat conversion, and a separate proposal to install automatic glazed doors.

But the firm did nothing to allay residents' fears, as it refused to answer whether the pub would be retained or if it was to be turned into a mini-supermarket.


From the January 28, 2011.

Sainsbury's making a move for derelict pub

Bishop's Oak 2012

DERELICT: The former Bishop's Oak pub, on Shipbourne Road is to become a Sainsbury's.

SAINSBURY'S looks set to move into north Tonbridge – sparking fears over the future of York Parade.

The Courier can reveal the supermarket wants to convert the vacant Bishops Oak pub, on Shipbourne Road, into a store which will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

But concerns have been raised over the "viability" of the row of shops which stand on the other side of the busy main road.

Borough councillor Nicolas Heslop said: "I can't talk about the right or wrongs of Sainsbury's going onto that site.

"But what I will say is that I am worried about the future viability of York Parade and the services that it provides, in particular the post office at Martins."

He added: "Shipbourne Road is very busy and is made more dangerous with motorists driving too fast. There's a traffic island which makes for a natural crossing, but it is not meant to be used by pedestrians.

"I think the time has now come for a safe crossing to be provided. I doubt Kent County Council is in a position to fund it, given the current economic climate.

"We now know Sainsbury's wants to trade in the area and I think we have to look at how safe that point is to get from one side of Shipbourne Road to the other."

London-based property developer Reef Estates bought the "Bishops Oak" pub in Shipbourne Road from Enterprise Inns for 1.33 million in August 2010.

It immediately submitted three planning applications to regenerate the eyesore.

These were to build three houses on the beer garden, turn the pub's first-floor four-bedroom flat into two two-bed flats, and improve access to the pub's existing main entrance with new automatic glazed doors.

In December it withdrew the plans for the pub garden, but these are expected to be re-submitted, in an altered format, in the next month.

Sainsbury's this week submitted a licensing application for 365 Shipbourne Road to Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council.

It wants to sell alcohol, starting on February 18, from 6am to midnight. CCTV will be installed and signs will be put up asking shoppers to be quiet when leaving late at night.

David Price, who lives next door in Harvest Road, said he was concerned with the application.

But he added: "We accept it but we are going to try and negotiate some of the terms to reduce noise and traffic levels so it doesn't affect us as much."

Sainsbury's did not comment.


Closed in 2010 and now operating as another Sainsbury's Local.




If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-