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Micro-pub plan aims to get people talking


PLANS 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


MPHelen - the pint puller


MAIDSTONE and theWealdMPHelen Grant, pictured above, pulled a pint at the historic Stag pub in Maidstone to celebrate its reopening after a £70,000 investment bymulti-operator Chris Dyer and Enterprise Inns.. The High Street venue has been closed since February for a full makeover including an updated bar area, new toilets, a contemporary outdoor space and an upgraded kitchen. Entrepreneur Chris (34), who also runs Enterprise sites Bar Chocolate in Maidstone and Command House in Chatham, said: “The pub was in need of some attention and we’ve completely transformed it.” Mrs Grant said: “I think people visiting Maidstone’s town centre will re-


ally enjoy this superbly renovated historic pub. “The ambience is great, the food and ales are delicious and the staff are lovely. I wish the Stag every success.”.


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.


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


Craft brewers add Wye flavour A taste of sushi


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.


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!”


in Maidstone A NEW sushi restaurant has opened - a little later than planned. Love Sushi pledged to bring a


taste of Asia to the county town two years ago but is now serving customers at its new premises in Earl Street, Maidstone. The company originally an- nounced itwas going to move into the town in August 2014 but con- version work appeared to stall. But since it opened at the end of


July, Love Sushi has been enjoy- ing brisk trade with customers choosing to sit at the conveyor in the restaurant or be served at the table.


Maidstone Town September 2016 31


Hospitality | News


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