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Petition calls for city council to restore the burned out seafront pub the Bun Penny in Herne Bay as it could be damaging tourism prospects

10 February 2014
by Aidan Barlow

Herne Bay Independent Retail Group has launched a petition calling for the restoration of the burned-out seafront pub.

It was ravaged by fire more than two years ago and was dubbed the town’s biggest eyesore by Gazette readers last month.

Now campaigners hope to press the council to use its powers under the Town and Country Planning Act to force the owners to repair it.

Businessman Nigel Hancock said: “I have launched a campaign on behalf of the town’s businesses, retailers and restaurateurs calling for the council to take urgent action.

“We have gained 150 signatures on the online petition, and there are several hard copies in town centre shops which are doing well.

“When I ask businesses in the town how things are going, the state of the Bun Penny always appears on people’s list of things which are not working.

“The campaign is not something I intended, but the feeling is strong enough to justify some activity.

Herne Bay Independent Retail Group leader Nigel Hancock

Herne Bay Independent Retail Group leader Nigel Hancock

“It is now 28 months since the fire, and despite many rumours, statements, misinformation and previous press campaigns it seems that we are no further forward in having this hideous and embarrassing eyesore sorted out.

“It appears that nobody is aware of the definite position or what, if any, action is in-hand.

“I have therefore launched a petition, the results of which I propose to take before the Herne Bay Area Members’ Panel and the regeneration committee of the council.”

Mr Hancock says he wants the council to use its powers to force the owners to mend the property.

He added: “Other district councils up and down the country use the legislation to good effect.

“Statistics show that around 20% of cases were resolved just by issuing a Section 215 notice.

“In 80% of cases where a notice is served councils have been successful.

“The question has to be asked why the council has seemingly taken no action at all to have the Bun Penny situation resolved.

“But, for now, we’ll launch the petition and at least bring the matter back onto the council’s radar. If we all get behind this campaign we can make things happen.”

There has been some muted support from Heron ward councillors Ron Flaherty (Lib Dem) and Andrew Cook (Con).

Cllr Cook said: “The campaign is very helpful and we are grateful that someone has highlighted it.

"The council is already aware of the problem in certain areas of Herne Bay.

"When the council takes action it is good to have the support of people behind it.”

The petition can be signed at www.thebay.org.uk/bunpenny.

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