Published: 09:39, 04 July 2020
| Updated: 17:31, 04 July 2020
A pub still managed to serve drinks today, despite a car crashing into the historic building as it was preparing to re-open after lockdown this morning.
The smash happened at 2am when a 4x4 ploughed through the side of The Swan Inn, in Swan Lane, Little Chart, Ashford.
Debris and rubble now lie scattered under the pub and on the side of the road.
Police and fire crews were called to the scene and it is understood the building is now "unsound" with structural engineers due to give their assessment.
Three people had to be taken to hospital and one teenager, aged 17, was arrested following the crash on suspicion of taking a vehicle without consent and drink driving.
A post from The Swan's Facebook page reads: "So 2am this morning the beautiful Swan was destroyed.
"Angry, devastated doesn’t describe it! Can’t go in as structure is now unsound."
But he later added: “We’ve got open, we’ve managed to open the pub – not inside, only outside.”
Owner Ray Perkins told KentOnline he was asleep above the pub when the crash happened.
He said: "We were asleep when the car came into the side of the pub. It was 2am. We weren't hurt but with all the dust the smoke alarms were going off. It was a shock.
"We are very upset; the pub has a huge gaping hole in it.
"We're now trying to work out if we can still open. We had 200 people booked to come into the garden."
"We do have a big garden, with marquees set up, so hopefully people can still go there and we can deliver drinks.
"We're waiting for the structural engineers to visit to let us know."
A spokesman for the police said: "Kent Police was called at 2.24am on July 4 to a report of a car colliding with a pub in The Street, Little Chart, Ashford.
"Officers attended along with South East Coast Ambulance Service and Kent Fire and Rescue Service.
"Three 17-year-old boys, who were inside the vehicle, were taken to hospital to be treated for minor injuries before being discharged.
"One of these teenagers has been arrested on suspicion of taking a vehicle without consent and drink driving. He remains in custody at this time."
It is not the first time the 15th Century pub has been hit.
In February 2017, a woman was taken to hospital with head injuries after the van hit the pub's wall.
Previous landlord, Brian Davies, was also asleep and the crash happened around the same time - at 2am.
He said back then: “I went downstairs to find the front of a van through the wall of the pub. It was coming down the road far too fast, and it’s the second time this has happened in the last three months.
“It’s quite scary when you are woken up at that time in the morning and half the wall under you is collapsing. The whole building shook, and it was probably about 10 ft away from where I was sleeping to where they came through the wall.”
A 20-year-old woman had to be cut free from the van and she had suffered head and leg injuries.
Mr Davies had run The Swan for a year before this smash happened and said a previous accident in November 2016 was predicted to cost £100,000 to repair. This work was underway when the February smash happened.
Mr Davies added:“It’s really about time that something was done about traffic calming in the village. We had a 30mph speed limit, we need bollards or something to stop cars hitting the pub.”