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Extension of Kings Arms at Elham rejected by Folkestone and Hythe district councillors

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A 16th century pub’s extension has been rejected as councillors feared it would overrun the village.

The Kings Arms in Elham, between Folkestone and Canterbury, had wanted to expand the pub’s offerings with a new dining and kitchen area that would serve up to 140 guests - up from 60.

The Kings Arms at Elham
The Kings Arms at Elham

It would also build nine new car parking spaces for extra guests.

However, when it first came to Folkestone and Hythe District Council in January it was deferred, as councillors were concerned the extension was too big and could cause traffic mayhem.

This led to a rethink by the applicant, Darrell Healey, and the extension was shortened in length to prevent intrusion with neighbours.

But when it did return to councillors on Tuesday, some members were not impressed with the changes made.

Cllr Jackie Meade (Lab) said that everyone would have to turn up in a minibus to get into the pub while Cllr Georigna Treloar (Green) said: “This building is almost like a pub on steroids.

Cllr Jackie Meade was among those criticising the plans
Cllr Jackie Meade was among those criticising the plans

“I don’t want to see a pub go out of use but there has to be a sliding scale of what’s acceptable.

“I don’t think we can talk about a pub being in the centre of the community when the prospect of the pub being so busy and attracting so many visitors, causing traffic chaos that it destroys the community.

“It still seems far too excessive, I don’t want to see it shut down but because of where it is and what it is, this is far too extreme.”

Meanwhile Cllr Philip Martin (Con) also said it was “extremely difficult” to find a solution.

He said: “I know the pub quite well and this is the worst example of over development I’ve ever seen in my 17 years on this committee.

The amended extension plans for the Kings Arms at Elham, which were rejected by councillors
The amended extension plans for the Kings Arms at Elham, which were rejected by councillors

“It’s going to be about three metres away from the neighbours, we do have to consider our residents.

“I don’t know for how many hundreds of years this pub has been there, but it’s as if if we don’t give them this they’re going to close.

“I’m just very worried, an increase of this size isn’t going to bring only nine more cars. Whenever you go to Elham it’s almost impossible to park anyway.”

However, some councillors defended the pub, claiming life without one leaves a community desolate.

Cllr Tony Hills (Con) said: “They’ve gone away and reduced the extension and I think that’s a major step forward.

“They are where they are, to be successful they have to expand in turnover and that will bring problems.

“It is a difficult one, I see too many of my villages on the marsh with no pubs, no shops, absolutely nothing.

“They’re just dormitory areas, people don’t talk to each other. We’re organising some street parties for the jubilee and I think it’s the first time some people have talked to each other.”

Councillors voted on a motion to reject the extension, with seven in favour, two against and three abstentions.

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