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Welling couple Jo and Nick Rutter want to turn former stationery shop in Middle Row, Ashford, into wine bar

By Charlie Harman

A Grade-II listed former shop could be turned into a wine bar if new plans are approved.

Husband and wife team Jo and Nick Rutter hope to turn an ex-stationery shop in Middle Row, Ashford, into a drinking establishment.

The pair have run a pub in Welling for 15 years but have now turned their attentions to transforming the disused building, which sits close to the St Mary's churchyard entrance.

A former shop may soon become a wine bar if a change of use is approved
A former shop may soon become a wine bar if a change of use is approved

Mrs Rutter said: “We are really excited about the opportunity, and can’t wait to get going on it.

“We’re aiming to move in before Christmas, as it’s a blank canvas it will take us a month to be where we want to be before opening.

“It’s not a concern that the building is listed - I think it’s nice.

“We’re going to keep the beams, and we’re willing to do whatever we can to emphasise its history.”

The pair - both 49 - have applied to Ashford Borough Council (ABC) for permission to open the bar.

If approved, the couple will offer lagers, bottled beers, spirits as well as wine.

Nick and Jo Rutter hope to open the bar
Nick and Jo Rutter hope to open the bar

They are also looking at securing a music licence which will enable them to book live artists.

The Welling residents plan to call the site the 'London Bar'.

Mrs Rutter added: “We came down to the Designer Outlet, visited the town and had some nice weekends down here.

“It’s a lovely little town with a great feel and there are not many wine bars around.”

The pair’s application came a day after bosses at the property’s neighbour - the John Wallis Pub - also lodged a planning application to extend their facilities.

If approved, the pub will provide nine rooms of accommodation on its first and second floors, a new bar in the basement and ground floor toilet facilities.

Both proposals have received concerned comments from Trevor Ford, an environmental protection officer at ABC, regarding noise pollution.

He fears the listed status of the buildings will hamper efforts to insulate the noise coming from both establishments.

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