Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.


Spoken Aug 2020

New Chapter

Not built

New Town Street

Chartham Hatch

Kentish Gazette, 20 August 2020. By Joe Wright.

Plans unveiled for new pub after first bid sparked hostility.

Ralph Noel and son Alistair

Ralph Noel and son Alistair have submitted a fresh application to build a pub, and have lined up Eddie Sergeant to be the landlord.

Developers have gone back to the drawing board in their bid to build a new country pub next to its derelict predecessor. Father and son team Ralph and Alistair Noel, who have already secured an eager landlord to take on the site, want to open an all-new venue in Chartham Hatch.

Pledging to offer the first five years rent-free and create a community hub the village is “crying out for”, the pair are hopeful their divisive vision will be rubber-stamped at the second time of asking next month.

As part of their plans, the former "Chapter Arms," which the new pub is envisaged to sit next to, would be turned into a luxury four-bed home.

The old inn - deemed too big and too costly to return to its past glories - has stood empty in New Town Street since closing its doors for the final time in 2017.

Two cottage bungalows are also proposed to be built on the land - with the Noels suggesting priority for buying will be given to local people.

Their previous attempt to secure permission for the scheme was thrown out by Canterbury City Council after racking up more than 100 objections. Authority planners said the development would be “intrusive” in the countryside, and critics including the Council for the Protection of Rural England and the Campaign for Real Ale, stressed a desire to give the old "Chapter Arms" a new lease of life instead of turning it into a home.

But now two years down the line, the Noels have resubmitted a tweaked application - which has so far received both support and objections - in their bid to open a new business. Ralph Noel said: “Last time, we went down the line of a micropub, but this time it’s a little bigger. It’s a new chapter for us - that’s probably a good name for it.

“There was a lot of hostility around the last one, but I think people are coming to the realisation that the old pub is never going to reopen.

“The previous owners tried to sell it for two years and had no offers.

They then sold it at a 300,000 loss - what does that tell you about the building? “Smaller environments have a much better opportunity to make money, and if you look at Covid, more than half of the bigger pubs aren’t going to survive. There a lot of successful places like this, such as the The Independent Pedaler in Bridge. “Being five years rent-free gives the new pub plenty of time to become successful and established. As it will be smaller than the original, the overhead is so much less and the upkeep will be minimal.

“If the villagers embrace it, they can have something they are very proud of.”

The "Old Coach and Horses" landlord Eddie Sergeant, who recently installed an Ibiza-style lounge garden at his pub in Harbledown, is set to take over the reins of the new venture if it is given the green light.

The Noels have so far received a mixed response to the revised scheme, but Ralph believes the city council could look favourably upon the plan.

“I think could it get through we tried very hard to get parish council support but they aren’t on board again,” he said. “Bearing in mind this will be sustainable, rent-free for five years and the fact we’re building a whole new pub, you’d think there might be some positivity. “You can’t make it up really; who else is offering to build a village a new pub? It’s on a brownfield site as well.

“So it’s a very sensible scheme and I find it incredulous that people still object to it. We’ve owned it for three years and we still haven’t got planning permission - the old pub has been burgled three times and it’s a mess. We’ve done all we can to address the issues from last time, so we’re hoping we can get permission when it goes to committee.”

‘There was a lot of hostility around the last one, but I think people are coming to the realisation that the old pub is never go ing to reopen’




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