Published: 00:00, 19 September 2014
| Updated: 09:50, 19 September 2014
A former NHS manager has raised a toast this week after his plans to open Whitstable’s newest micropub received the green light from councillors.
Proposals by Chris Williamson, 53, of Western Avenue, Herne Bay, to convert a former antiques shop in Canterbury Road into a pub were approved by the city council’s planning committee on Tuesday.
Working as a radiology manager at Kent and Canterbury Hospital, Chris left his post in July to open a micropub after having an epiphany one morning.
He said: “I have always been a strong supporter of micropubs because they sell excellent real ales.
“I first got involved about four years ago when I went to the Butcher’s Arms in Herne
“I just woke up one morning and decided I wanted to run my own micropub.
“I searched all over Kent in Sandwich and Canterbury and then in May I came across the shop in Canterbury Road and it just felt right.
“It’s so important to have the right location and it’s fair to say I had a feeling about this one straight away.”
Chris still needs permission from the council’s licensing committee with a hearing due on Tuesday but says he hopes to be up and running in three weeks.
He revealed the name of the pub will be The Handsome Sam in dedication of his beloved cat who he looked after for more than 20 years.
Chris added: “He was like my best friend and everyone used to call him Handsome Sam so this is a tribute to him.
“We got him from a cat sanctuary and cared for him for more than 20 years ago but three years ago my partner was suffering from breast cancer and his health wasn’t good as well so he had to go.”
Out of the 10 members of the board, eight approved the application while two abstained.
Chris says he is delighted to expand the micropub craze which swept across Kent and further afield with the opening of the Butchers Arms in 2005.
When it opens it will be the town’s third miniature boozer behind The Black Dog in the High Street and The Tankerton Arms in Tankerton Road.
He added: “With my one there will be 78 micropubs across the country and only one has closed. They say two pubs are closing a week but the micropub revolution is going strong.
“It will be a community based pub for people to enjoy a couple of pints and talk rubbish.”
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