A listed pub once named the nation’s best could be turned into a house of multiple occupancy (HMO).
Plans have been submitted to Gravesham council to turn the former Crown and Thistle, in Gravesend town centre, into a six-bedroom home.
Applicant Mr Rai is proposing to demolish part of a rear extension to create a lightwell, build a bin store in the garden, replace a UPVC window with a timber sash window and make alterations to the inside and outside of the building.
If approved, the building would have two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom, and living area on the ground floor then two bedrooms and a bathroom on each of the second and third levels.
There are also plans to bring the garden back into use with a small patio area.
The submitted planning statement says the building shows “deterioration externally and internally” and there is “very little left inside that is an original feature.”
It states the only parts of value would be the pub shop front, the timber sash windows, and potentially the metal hanging sign bracket, although it looks to be modern and not old wrought iron.
Known locally as the Crown and Crumpet, the former pub in The Terrace is thought to have opened in 1859 with records showing the first landlord as Edward Sabery Colyer.
In 2003, it won CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year. It closed in April 2011 but reopened later that year before shutting again in 2015.
It has been on the market ever since but, despite being marketed by Robinson Michael Jackson Estate Agents, there has been no commercial use inquiries, according to the planning documents.
The report said: “We labour again on the point that this building has been empty since 2015 despite extensive marketing so it is now time for the planning authority to take a realistic look at viability and demand and to understand that the building will need to find a use soon to remain in a reasonable state of repair worth restoring.
“The building will remain empty and vulnerable to damage and vandalism or worse to complete destruction if the wrong type of persons gain access to it.
“The front window has been damaged and boarded over. It is highly likely that in time it will be broken into and more extensively damaged.”
It added: “We acknowledge that the local planning authority may have a desire to see the ground floor used commercially, however, the reality – as demonstrated by the results of extensive marketing – is that there is not a demand for such use of this building.
“All the demand is as a residential property, however, this also has to be viable in view of the works required. This proposal will bring an historic building into repair.”
The building is thought to have been originally built as a house, according to the submitted heritage statement.
Historian Christoph Bull said it stands in an area developed in the 1840s which did well with visitors coming to the town by steamer or using the Royal Terrace Pier.
He said: “My view of it being changed to flats is that, as long as the exterior and as much of the interior historical features are retained, I have no real objection, because clearly it cannot be a commercially viable public house and the building does need to be used and occupied.
“Time will tell as to who will occupy it and what they bring to the town.”
You can view the plans here or by searching for reference 20230648 on Gravesham council’s planning portal.
A decision on the plans is expected by August 21.