Licensee battles to save pub

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Related tags: Town and country planning in the united kingdom

The licensee of a 150-year-old community pub is facing a tough battle to save it from being demolished and rebuilt as flats.Mike Collings, licensee...

The licensee of a 150-year-old community pub is facing a tough battle to save it from being demolished and rebuilt as flats.

Mike Collings, licensee at the Farmers, in Sevenoaks, Kent, and local campaigners are hoping to stop his pub being redeveloped as luxury flats by its owner the Bishopgate Foundation.

Mr Collings' fight against the proposals, helped by local councillors and the community, has seen him defeat two previous planning applications.

But following an appeal by the Bishopgate Foundation planning approval has finally been granted for the development.

Mr Collings, who has been licensee at the pub for 17 years, said: "It's alarming that the local planning authority can ride roughshod over the wishes of the community which it is there to protect.

"I'm absolutely horrified by the situation and so are all the locals. At no stage in the planning process has any consideration whatsoever been given to the loss of this important amenity."

Hundreds of the action packs have been handed out by Mr Collings and locals are being urged to voice their protests to the governors of the Bishopsgate Foundation and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

But Mr Collings said the only hope now is that someone comes in with money to spend to rescue the pub. "We are a popular pub and have a good turnover so it would be worth somone's while," he said.

However, Andrew Fuller, chief executive of the Bishopgate Foundation, said: "We look forward to progressing the scheme after discussions with the present tenant of the Farmers have been concluded.

"The Foundation is pleased that the planning inspectorate has confirmed the judgement of the planning officers of Sevenoaks District Council who recommended that planning permission should be granted."

Mr Collings is appealing to people who use the pub to pick up an action pack or visit the pub's website at www.farmers-pub.co.uk

Related topics: Property law

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