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is uncovered TODAY we look on Vinters, Weavering and Grove Green as an intensive modern residential area - but dig deeper and a fascinating his- tory unfolds. That is just

what local au- thor Robin Am- brose has done to produce his fourth fascinat- ing book on Box- ley, Sandling and Penenden Heath. The 27 chap-

ters are illustrated with phots, paint- ings, drawings and maps. The story starts with Roger de

Vinter in the 1300s. He built the manor house inVintersPark, bought in 1783 by James Whatman,whocre- ated attractive park land around it. His family made a fortune in paper- making. So many are unaware of the his-

tory ofWalnut Tree Farm,Weaver- ing School, the church at Grove Green, the Fox & Goose, Vinters Farm and quarry, Newnham Court Farm, thewar years and how an era changed as the houseswere built. “Vinters, Weavering and Grove

Green Memories” costs £8.50 and available atWaterstones, Maidstone. Review by Dennis Fowle

Shepherd Neame take on village pub restaurants

A CHAIN of five upmarket pub restaurants including the Oak on the Green and the Fish on the Green in Bearsted have been bought by Kent brewer Shepherd Neame for £11.85million. The Faversham-based beer and

pub company has acquired Village Green Restaurants Ltd from own- ers Alex and Helen Bensley. As well as the Bearsted Green venues, its new additions are the Old Mill in Kennington, the Chequers on the Green in High Halden and the Swan and Dog in Great Chart. Shepherd Neame said the pub restaurants, which are all freehold, will be operated under its managed pubs division. The restaurants had a combined annual turnover of £6.6m and an operating profit of £900,000 in the year ending October 31, 2015. The brewer said the takeover is in

line with its strategy to acquire high-quality sites with unique char- acter in landmark or high profile lo- cations. To fund the deal, it has extended

its revolving credit facility with the bank by £25m to £45m, taking total

access to bank finance to £105m. Jonathan Neame, chief executive of Shepherd Neame, said: “We are de- lighted towelcome the team fromVil- lageGreenRestaurantsLtdtoShepherd Neame. Over recent years we have transformedourpubprofile,greatlyde- veloped our food offer and enhanced the experience for our customers, and this is another important development in our strategy. “We are hugely impressed by what

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Alex and Helen and their team have achieved andwe look forward to con- tinuing their great work.” Alex Bensley, chief executive of Vil-

lage Green Restaurants, said: “Helen andIareproudofthebusinesswehave builtanddelighted to pass the baton to a local, longstanding family business such as ShepherdNeame.” The announcement attracted social

media criticism about a potential drop in foodandservice standards.

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