Published: 15:07, 31 March 2021
| Updated: 14:08, 01 April 2021
A village pub has been saved from an uncertain future more than a year after it closed for good.
The fate of the Honest Miller in Brook, near Ashford, has been decided after it was left in the balance after it was boarded up in February 2020.
The popular haunt had only reopened in August 2018 under new management, but owners Admiral Taverns shut it down less than two years later.
The inn, which dates back to the 16th Century, was put on the market for just shy of £500,000 in March of last year.
New owners Churchill Property Group are now planning to reopen the pub and an increased capacity restaurant, once major renovation work has taken place.
The proposed work will include an upgrade of the pub’s interior and kitchen, the addition of outdoor dining areas, function room, letting rooms and manager accommodation.
A detailed planning application will be submitted this spring and it is anticipated the upgraded pub and restaurant will also bring around 20 new jobs to the village, as well as supporting local farmers and food and drink producers.
Pat Heathcote of Churchill Property Group explains: “In recent years The Honest Miller has had a number of tenants and it has been unsuccessful for several reasons, most notably caused by a lack of investment.
"Pubs and restaurants in a rural location like this need to be financially sustainable to ensure their long-term future and along with serving the local community, the pub will draw customers from a wider area.”
As part of the renovation work, the company is also proposing the building of four new homes next to the pub gardens, on the side facing onto Troy Town Lane.
Mr Heathcote said: "The development of this smaller parcel of redundant land will enable the significant funding of the building and refurbishment works to the pub and coach house to take place.
"At a time when other village pubs in this area are sadly closing and with many facing an uncertain future if they reopen this summer, we think this is an exciting opportunity to bring a new food and tourism business offering to the area as well as much needed homes to a sought-after village.
"This is a good news story for Brook and the wider Ashford area"
"In all the doom and gloom for the hospitality sector over the last 12 months, this is a good news story for Brook and the wider Ashford area, as we believe we will create an intimate village pub and restaurant which offers quality and great service, a function/meeting room to support local and special occasion need, letting rooms for visitors to the area, and fantastic outdoor spaces.”
Churchill Property is holding a consultation on their plans to refurbish and re-open The Honest Miller and an online Q & A event will be held on Thursday April 8 at 4.30pm, and again the next day at 7pm.
To participate or to watch a recording of these events click here.