Published: 06:00, 30 September 2021
| Updated: 11:52, 30 September 2021
Residents of a village near Ashford have hit out at plans to build on land around their local pub, claiming the scheme would "redefine" the history of the area.
A group of Brook residents have voiced their opposition to the redevelopment of The Honest Miller following recently announced plans submitted to Ashford Borough Council.
The plans to reopen the pub, which was shut down just before the first lockdown and bought for about £500,000, include the addition of a holiday let and four new homes on fields around the building.
The 'Save The Honest Miller' group says it has unanimously voted against the project put forward by Churchill Property group (CPG), and presented what it says is a viable alternative.
The group, which represents 150 households in the village, said it reached the vote in the "largest turnout ever seen in a public meeting hosted by Brook Parish Council".
Village resident Chris Forbes said: "The village of Brook has been a linear village since the 11th century.
"We are in an area of outstanding natural beauty and while we do want The Honest Miller pub back, we object to four new houses that would redefine the last 1,000 years of this village’s existence.”
Rather than building houses in order to reopen the pub, the group has created a business plan for what it describes as "a destination for truly outstanding locally sourced food and drink... an exciting, community-led pub, true to its rural routes".
A spokesman for the group said: "This is not just about a pub for us – it is about helping to sustain our community.
"It is about investing in the future of the community and ensuring The Honest Miller is run for the good of Brook and nearby villages, for us now and for future generations to come."
Additional ideas in the plan include a village shop in the Coach House, which would feature the holiday let under CPG's plans, as well as large-scale community events on the green space around the pub, a monthly farmers’ market, prescription and online delivery drop-off points and more community activities.
The group would also seek to retain the glamping facilities for which the land already has planning permission.
In response to a request for comment from KentOnline, a CPG spokesman said the company has taken the project seriously.
"We have commissioned a local and highly skilled, professional and comprehensive project team, to bring forwards an enabling led scheme that is backed by a full range of reports and plans, to secure some sensitive housing that will support the vitality of the village and help enable the much needed works to the public house," he said.
"We have also undertaken a public engagement exercise, to inform and engage the villagers and locals about the proposals, and produced a statement of community involvement setting this out."