Plans have resurfaced to transform a historic 131-year-old pub into a pizza takeaway joint – just two years after they were turned down.
The George and Dragon has been sat on the corner of the junction between London Road and Swanscombe High Street since 1891.
As a former Victorian coaching inn the vintage boozer would welcome many a weary traveller and in more recent times enjoyed success as a local CAMRA pub of the year.
But despite its reputation it has not welcomed in punters for a light refreshment since its permanently shut its door in 2019 when the landlord and landlady announced they were retiring.
An application was later made to the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC) to change the use of the premises to a food takeaway business with franchise chain Domino's Pizza poised to take over.
But the bid was refused in 2020 and an appeal against the decision refused by the Planning Inspectorate.
Planners said the proposal would result in loss of a "community facility for non-community purposes" and deemed it an inappropriate location with insufficient parking.
Concerns were also flagged over the length of marketing exercises to explore the pub's continued use as a "community-led" facility.
Undettered, pizza bosses have now submitted a fresh application which again seeks permission for the change of use for the vacant public house to a hot food takeaway joint.
The proposed takeaway would operate between 10am and midnight daily and will generate an as yet unspecified number of local jobs.
Plans outline a new layout to provide a customer service area with a limited amount of seating at the front of the store with the kitchen area behind.
At the back there will be a cold room, storage area and wash up area as well as staff facilities. There will be eight car parking spaces to be access via London Road.
The resubmitted plans come fresh off the back of new updated market evidence after attempts to find a buyer fell flat.
The pub has been vacant since 2019 and has been on the market since November 2018.
In its planning application, the applicant states that while some "very limited interest" has been shown in re-using the site as a pub, no realistic evidence was provided to demonstrate a purchase would have been possible.
It says: "Five months have elapsed following the target market campaign with no further interest in the site.
"In addition to the initial twelve-month marketing period, this is ample time to establish that there is no potential for the site to be reoccupied in community use."
As such the franchisee believes that the change of the use of the site is in line with EDC's development policy.
The statement adds: "The proposed change of use will have significant economic benefits for the local area, with the buildings re-use resulting in the creation of a significant number of jobs for local people, together with other benefits arising from the refurbishment of the building and improvements to its appearance and streetscene.
"More ideas need to be sought to help the town become a positive place to live..."
"It is therefore clear that the loss of the public house is justified in national and local planning policy terms."
But the re-emergence of the Domino's Pizza plans have sparked more than 30 comments on the EDC planning portal, with most voicing their opinion against the proposals.
The main reasons cited were traffic congestion, poor access and parking provision and the loss of a community facility.
One commented: "This should not be allowed. The town leads more local amenities, not pizza restaurants of which there are multiple within a few miles.
"More ideas need to be sought to help the town become a positive place to live."
Another added: "We have far too many low rate food places - why on earth would we want to turn this lovely building into another one??
"This will cause traffic issues at this junction and put more delivery scooters on the roads."
Kent historian Christoph Bull said: "I want the building to be used for something but I don't want it to be destroyed or developed into a takeaway.
"Swanscombe does not need more saturated fat in its blood stream than it already has."
He added his preference would be for it to be converted into a German restaurant but said whatever it's use it would face issues over parking and access.
Swanscombe and Greenhithe Town Council has also voiced its opposition to the plans.
A statement read: "Members of the Town Council, as local people, know that the proposal would bring more traffic flow to the immediate vicinity which already suffers from heavy use and cannot absorb this.
"The town council do not feel that this application does enough to mitigate the reasons the previous application was refused with the refusal being upheld on appeal by The Planning Inspectorate.
Its not the first historic building in the area to be subject to redevelopments plans, with the All Saints Church opposite having been converted into flats in recent years.
The Alma Public House in Swanscombe High Street was demolished recently to make way for homes and the Wheatsheaf pub, also in the High Street has been tipped to become flats too.
The previous landlord and landlady purchased the George and Dragon back in 2011 and oversaw an upturn in fortunes.
Only eight years ago it was named among the 150 best local real ale pubs in the country, winning the title of Gravesend and Darent Valley CAMRA pub of the year two years in a row.
Its success coincided with the opening there of the Caveman Brewery in 2013 by Nick Byram and James Hayward, who went on to set up The Iron Pier Brewery in Northfleet.
Domino’s Pizza Group's spokesman Will Hill said: "We’re really excited about the possibility of opening a new store for the pizza lovers of Swanscombe.
"A new planning application has been submitted by the owner of the property we and are hopeful of a positive outcome.”