Pub to reopen as council rejects closure attempt by its brewery

Gary Jefferies

A MUCH beloved ‘local’, that looked set to become a residential development, will continue to function as a pub with a ‘very interested buyer’ expected to complete a deal within the next few weeks.

The Nelson Arms, in Cromer Street, has been up for sale since November with owners Shepherd Neame arguing that running the premises as a pub no longer fitted their current ‘business strategy’.

They advertised it as a potential site for transformation ‘into a pair of semi-detached houses or flats’.

It has been closed since March after the landlord, Charlotte Gow, left.

However, a campaign by nearby residents to preserve ‘the only pub in the Barden Road area’ and maintain the building as a licensed venue, has finally proved successful.

They applied to have The Nelson Arms listed as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ [ACV], meaning the property could not be sold for up to six months.

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council [TMBC] confirmed the ACV status but Shepherd Neame appealed.

This appeal has been rejected with the borough council accepting there was a ‘realistic prospect’ of the pub continuing to serve the community. 06The brewery, who have the right to appeal the decision to a tribunal, have confirmed that they will now be selling it as a pub.

A spokesperson for Shepherd Neame said: “The appeal was unsuccessful. We are now in negotiation with a potential buyer.”

The Times understands that the prospective buyer plans to completely refurbish the pub and open in the autumn as a free house specialising in real ales and quality Belgian beers.

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