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The Plough Inn in Brabourne Lees near Ashford saved from demolition after Shepherd Neame sale

An 18th century pub has escaped demolition and is set to be transformed into a "stunning" family home.

The last pint was pulled at The Plough Inn in Brabourne Lees, near Ashford, 18 months ago when the plot was snapped up by businessman David Derrick for just short of £400,000.

The Plough Inn in Brabourne was boarded up in 2018
The Plough Inn in Brabourne was boarded up in 2018

But the bricklayer-turned-property-developer faced strong opposition from villagers over his plans to replace the pub with four semi-detached properties.

Now Mr Derrick's firm DD Brothers Ltd has employed Canterbury-based Clague Architects to re-imagine the rambling hostelry in Lees Road to create a luxury single dwelling.

Mr Derrick said: "The building has undergone several extensions and is not listed but it's in a central location and is seen as part of the fabric of the community.

"It's part of the memories of people who grew up in the village and went to the pub and they didn't want to lose it."

Clague has re-worked the first-floor living space in its plan and architect Pat Mills says that where there were "three tiny bedrooms", by going deeper into the building they have been able to fit in four double bedrooms, each with en suite bathrooms.

How the original scheme was set to look
How the original scheme was set to look

He said: "The design retains the key historic street facade of the pub while creating additional accommodation suitable for a family.

"Contemporary side and rear extensions allow a greater area of natural light into the living spaces."

Mr Derrick said: "We pulled out all the stops and employed a top architect to get the plans right."

Ashford Borough Council (ABC) has just approved the scheme and Mr Derrick said that now it has the green light he is considering selling the site for someone else to develop.

An estate agent has valued the finished home around the £1m mark, close to the price of bungalows that have been built in the garden of the former pub, which was sold off by former owner Shepherd Neame.

The five bungalows in the picturesque village are on the market with S J Moore estate agents for £775,000 and are described as being in an exclusive, gated development.

Brabourne Lees parish council clerk Sue Wood said: "The new plans have been very well received indeed.

"People were absolutely delighted by them when they were presented by the developer and architect.

"The pub is a landmark building and now it's being re-purposed into a stunning family home.

"The houses on the original plan were very ordinary but now there is going to be a super family home in place of the pub."

A picture of The Plough taken pre-1914
A picture of The Plough taken pre-1914
How the former pub is set to look under the new plan
How the former pub is set to look under the new plan

Builder John Browning, who lives opposite the site, said that with two other pubs in the village, The Woolpack and the Blue Anchor, there were just not enough customers to go round.

He added: "I supported the original plans for the homes as I thought they would be good for the people of the village.

"But I'm glad that something is being done and the building will not just be left to fall down."

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