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Shepherd Neame offers concessions over plans for homes on land behind the Red Lion pub in Charing Heath


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Objections to a brewery's plans to build homes on land it owns behind a village pub may have won a victory for villagers.

Shepherd Neame had sought permission for a development of nine properties to the rear of the Red Lion in Charing Heath, near Ashford, but faced opposition from locals who said this would reduce the amount of open land at the heart of the community.

The Red Lion pub at Charing Heath
The Red Lion pub at Charing Heath

The Faversham-based brewer called a meeting at the pub to discuss the plans with neighbours, and has now withdrawn its initial application to allow time to makes changes to the scheme.

It also says it now plans to hand over a parcel of open land to the parish council to ensure there remains space for villagers to exercise and walk their dogs.

George Barnes, Shepherd Neame property and services director, said: "We organised a public consultation event at the Red Lion earlier this month to offer local residents an opportunity to learn more about our proposed development.

"As a result of feedback given at the event, we have taken the decision to temporarily withdraw the application in order to make some minor changes.

"We plan to resubmit the revised application before the end of February, and will also be submitting a parallel application for 1.5 hectares of remaining open space to be designated as public use.

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"We are proposing to donate this land to Charing Parish Council to ensure that a permanent amenity is created for local residents."

The brewery, which has owned and operated the pub since 1873, is the freehold owner of the land earmarked for the new homes, which it says will "blend and contribute to the village's aesthetic".

Its initial application for planning permission described the proposed houses as "country cottages" made with traditional materials and local building styles with brick and feather-boarded frontages.

One comment of objection to the now-withdrawn plans read: "There are plenty of other more suitable sites along the roadways nearby which do not involve tarmacking over a valuable local asset and diverse eco-system."

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