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Micro-pub plan aims to get people talking

for mPLANS to turn a West Malling house into a micro-pub have been given their first public airing. David Cotterallwas due to speak

of his long-held dream of turning a house he owns behind The Crop Shop hair salon in the High Street into a “community pub” at a pub- lic meeting at The Clout Institute as we went to press. The 52-year-old father of three,

who has lived in West Malling 30 years, says the idea is his response to the “death of community bars and conversation”. He once drank at the Lobster Pot, set to re-open as an Italian restaurant, with hotel rooms above, and The Farmhouse in the High Street, which has just been sold to Shepherd Neame. Mr Cotterall said: “I want to

open a small, community pub where people come to have a cou-

ple of quality pints, a bag of peanuts and to chat. It’s a passion of mine. These old-style commu- nity pubs are experiencing re- newed interest but are sadly lacking in West Malling, with many of our pubs predominantly restaurants or part of a chain.” He hopes the meeting will have

answered residents’ questions and ironed out any concerns. “I hope to dispel any myths or

fears people might have about this being a noisy anti-social venture in the heart of a residential area. It will remain small, opening hours will be limited and I expect it to close at 9pm. What it will do is pro- vide a community pub for commu- nity-minded people.” The micro-pub would use the downstairs section of the house and back yard and would be man- aged by Mr Cotterall’s friend Rick Mason. His initiative has also re- ceived the backing of the Cam- paign for Real Ale (CAMRA). Mr Cotterall said: “This will not

Troubled restaurant is sold

THE financial troubles of the Fancy Goat seem to have been overtaken by events, with the restaurant put on the open market by the owner of the building. Just days after a sales board appeared in the window, Hatch and Batten

estate agents in Allington confirmed the restaurant – up for about £750,000 – is under offer. It follows recent problems with the restaurant, including a very public

display by butcher Norman Gunne, who staged a one-man protest outside the outlet, claiming the business owed him more than £9,000 formeat. The estate agent’s details describe the four-floor listed building “in the

busy High Street ofWest Malling” as an “exciting opportunity” for a buyer looking for a contemporary, stylish interior, currently benefiting froma fit- ted bar, restaurant kitchen and a small courtyard, with a walkway to King Street.

be a brewery, just a low-key place to gather for a few drinks – like walking into someone’s front room.” He says entertainment will be limited to conversation and news- papers, with a selection of real ales and a few wines on sale, along with snacks. There would be no TV or music. Mr Cotterall said: “I hope the public’s response will be support- ive.” If it is, he hopes to submit plans

as soon as possible for the house, which has until recently been leased to domestic tenants and has been granted a licence for commer- cial use.

Craft brewers add Wye flavour

KENT Brewery, nearWest Malling, supplies dozens of pubs with craft beer. The business, set up in 2010 by

Paul Herbert and Toby Simmonds, is constantly developing new beers, with additions including maple syrup and elderberry. Paul believes the thirst for craft

beers is providing a growing menu of flavours.Heis working withWye Hops near Canterbury to develop bines bearing more interesting flavours and feels this will lead to a return to the number of hop gardens for which Kentwas once famous. As a member of the Society of In- dependent Brewers (SIBA), Kent Brewery is backing a drive to give customers more information about where their craft brew comes from.

Boosting vital

local economy PRODUCED in Kent calculates that if every household in the county spent just £5.50 aweek on local food and drink it would generate an extra £175m for the local economy. Jill Sargent (pictured), from Pro-

duced in Kent, loves the efforts being made to turn West Malling in to a unique place to dine, drink and buy quality local products like English wine. She says: “Local shops and serv-

ices give our communities their identities.With the rise of multiples and coffee chains it is easy to lose that identity.West Malling and the surrounding area has much to draw on, from local vineyards to world- class research centres, and a thriving farmers’ market. “Being independent relies on dis- cerning customers appreciating the ‘point of difference’ that traders work so hard to provide, such as sourcing locally or making bespoke products over buying in cheaper, quicker options, and, of course, choosing to offer ‘old-fashioned’ customer service. These independ- ent retailers are also supporting jobs in their communities. “Supporting a local business is

also about getting a great product, whether that’s fresh from the farm- ers’ market or a pint of Kent-pro- duced ale in the pub. So love where you live, and buy local!”

West Malling pub bought

THE Farmhouse in West Malling High Street was bought by Shep- herd Neame on June 28. It was one of eight pubs ac- quired by the Faversham brewery from Enterprise Inns plc – two in Kent, with the others in Sussex and Surrey. The purchase of Earls, in Maid- stone’s Earl Street,was completed on July 14. All the pubs continue to operate

as before, with Martial Chaussey remaining as licensee at The Farmhouse. All of the pubs will now enter

into tied house arrangements with the brewery.

Malling August 2016 25

Hospitality | News

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