Sort file:- Chatham, October, 2023.

Page Updated:- Monday, 09 October, 2023.


July 1960


Closed 2004

Yarrow Road


Woodsman Tavern 1970s

Above photo, circa 1970s, kindly sent by Gordon Birt.

Woodsman Tavern

Above photo, date unknown.

Woodman site 2009

Above Google image April 2009, showing the site of the Woodman.

Woodsman site 2015

Above Google image September 2015, showing the same site as above.


Chatham’s first public house to be built on a council estate was opened in July 1960. The licence had been transferred from the "Ordnance Arms," Coleman Street, by the owners Messrs. Truman, Hanbury & Buxton.

A competition had been held on the estate to choose a name for the new house and it was from the 300 entries submitted that the "Woodsman" was evolved.

Built to a contemporary design, it was unusual in that there was no basement beer cellar, the entire stock of draught & bottled beers were kept in a surface store, heavily insulated and fitted with automatic temperature controls.

Although in a well-populated area, trade gradually fell and the pub was left derelict in 2003, becoming an eyesore and a target for fly-tippers.

Planning consent was applied for in 2008 to demolish it & construct 13 flats.




Portfolio holder: Councillor Alan Jarrett, Finance.

Report from: Neil Davies, Director of Finance and Corporate Services

Author: David Howe, Senior Valuation Surveyor – Valuation and Asset Management

1. Summary

1.1 To seek Cabinet authority to declare surplus to requirements the freehold site of the Woodsman Public House, Yarrow Road, Chatham.

2. Decision Issues

2.1 As the value of the consideration for the transaction will be over 50,000 this matter exceeds the Director of Finance and Corporate Services’ delegated powers. As the consideration is below 1,000,000, it is a matter for Cabinet.

3. Background
3.1 From October 1960, the former Borough of Chatham granted a 99 year lease of 0.344 acres of land to Truman Hanbury Buxton and Company Limited to construct the Woodsman Public House. The lease was granted at a fixed rent of 450 per annum and restricted to use as a public house. The lease was assigned to Admiral Taverns (Relax) Ltd the current tenant, in September 2004 as part of a chain of public houses. The site is shown outlined black on the attached plan.

3.2 The property has traded reasonably successfully over the years.

However, in more recent times there have been a number of problems that culminated in its closure last year; since then it has remained shut.

The property has been subject to vandalism, fly tipping and anti social behaviour, and although the public house remains secure the site is vulnerable.

3.3 Discussions have taken place with the tenant recently regarding the future of the property. The tenant advises they no longer consider the property to be viable as a public house and have marketed their interest through an agent for alternative uses on the site.

3.4 The value of both the tenant’s and the Council’s present interests are relatively low. This is because the Council has a low fixed income for the remainder of the term and the lease restricts the use to a public house. The value in the property will be maximised by merging the two interests to realise the freehold potential in the site.

4. Options

4.1 Options for the future of the freehold site of the Woodsman Public House, including details of the ongoing negotiations and advice from officers are detailed in the exempt appendix.

5. Financial and legal implications

5.1 These are set out in the report. Any capital receipt that results will contribute to the Council’s challenging capital receipt target of 4,000,000 per annum.

5.2 Given the valuation advice set out in the exempt appendix the disposal would be at the best consideration reasonably obtainable.

6. Recommendation

6.1 The Cabinet is recommended to:

6.1.1 Declare the Council’s freehold interest in the property surplus to requirements.

6.1.2 Request the Director of Finance and Corporate Services, in consultation with the Finance Portfolio Holder, to proceed with its disposal in accordance with option 4 as set out in the exempt appendix.

6.1.3 Delegate authority to the Director of Finance and Corporate Services, in consultation with the Finance Portfolio Holder, to dispose of the property for the best consideration reasonably obtainable.

7. Suggested reasons for decision

7.1 If the Council does not proceed with a disposal the property is likely to remain closed as a public house and the site will continue to be the subject of anti social behaviour. The Council owns no other land in the area and this is an opportunity for the Council to receive a capital receipt.

Lead officer contact

David Howe, Senior Valuation Surveyor – Valuation and Asset Management.

E-mail: Telephone Number: (01634) 332494

Background papers

File held in Asset and Property Management reference HW/10.


From the By KentOnline reporter, 15 May 2014.

Affordable rented property, Chatham.

It was once a pub, but now it is becoming home for 13 households needing affordable rented property.

Celandine Court 2014

Celendine Court, Walderslade, Chatham.

Celandine Court, on the site of the former "Woodsman" pub, in Yarrow Road, Walderslade, provides 13 two-bedroom apartments.

The new development, built by Jenner Contractors for housing association mhs homes, is now complete and being snapped up by people looking for somewhere affordable.

This development is part of mhs homes’ plan to provide 260 affordable homes for people in Medway and Maidstone.

Emma Riddington, of mhs homes, said: “This scheme was a great opportunity to provide affordable housing for local people. It complements another of our new-build schemes on Yarrow Road, which was built in 2011, and demonstrates how disused land can be used effectively to meet housing need in the area.”




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