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Micropub plan is a first for Sittingbourne town centre

By KentOnline reporter

Donna’s Ale House is to open at 20 West Street, in what used to be the Vintage Vapes shop, which shut last year.

It’s the brainchild of Donna Hartridge, who has years of experience in the pub trade and decided she wanted to set up one of her own.

Donna Hartridge outside the shop in West Street, Sittingbourne, which is to become micro-pub

Donna Hartridge outside the shop in West Street, Sittingbourne, which is to become micro-pub

The 41-year-old is a former manager of Sittingbourne’s old Wetherspoons, the Summoner at the bottom end of the High Street, and now works at the Gunpowder Mill in Faversham.

She said: “Sittingbourne’s a big real ale community.

“We’ll be concentrating on Kentish ales like those from the Rockin Robin brewery and also doing ciders, wines and gin.

“There will be food in the day too and basically we will be doing what people want.”

Micropubs are defined as small pubs, selling real ales and ciders, which have a focus on promoting conversation as opposed to having loud music and sport on TV.

The nearest example to the town centre is the Paper Mill in Charlotte Street.

The Paper Mill, Charlotte Street, Sittingbourne

The Paper Mill, Charlotte Street, Sittingbourne

Donna, who will be helped with the new venture by husband James, said: “It won’t be like a Wetherspoons.

"We’ll sell what people want us to sell – real ale is the way to go" - Donna Hartridge

“We’ll sell what people want us to sell – real ale is the way to go. I wanted to do something on my own as opposed to taking on someone else’s pub. You can really put a bit of yourself into it.”

She added: “We’re still waiting on the change of use but we hope to open before Christmas.”

A spokesman for the Swale branch of Camra, the Campaign for Real Ale, welcomed the new addition, saying: “We look forward to seeing how this progresses.

“Any new establishment providing the town with a range of good quality local real ale is a good thing.”

A premises licence application has been submitted to sell alcohol all week from 11am until 11pm, with serving stopping at 4pm on Sundays.

It also asks for the option to have live music Thursday to Saturday from 7pm to 11pm and recorded music at other times.

Comments about the application must be received by Monday, November 13.

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