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Co-op plans at former Plough Inn in Herne Bay shelved

By Jack Dyson

Controversial plans to build a Co-op on the site of a disused pub have been shelved.

Father-and-son developers Alistair and Ralph Noel hoped to demolish the former Plough Inn in Herne Bay and replace it with five flats and the convenience store.

After Canterbury City Council refused the bid at the start of the year, the pair say they are planning to keep the shell of the pub and convert it into four one- and two-bed flats and erect two houses, including a bungalow.

The Plough Inn Pub in Margate Road
The Plough Inn Pub in Margate Road

The Margate Road site has been at the centre of controversy since the pair’s original proposals were unveiled 12 months ago.

On both occasions, planning officers noted the developments would have resulted in the “unacceptable loss of a community facility”.

“We’ve gone residential now,” Alistair said. “We’re still in consultation with Herne and Broomfield Parish Council.

“They're much more in the ballpark of what it has been looking for. Hopefully we’ll get the parish support because we’ve done everything it’s wanted.”

Alistair previously told the Gazette a structural engineer had condemned the building. It was also gutted in a suspected arson attack in August.

Alistair Noel inside the former Plough Inn in Margate Road
Alistair Noel inside the former Plough Inn in Margate Road

But he now says he and his father will “bear the cost of the refurbishment”.

“The pub is in terrible shape to be honest – the damage there is pretty horrendous,” Alistair said.

“The saga has been running for about two-and-a-half years and we submitted a number of different planning applications.

“There have been costs associated with it – about £420,000 – and it’s sat there dormant and become derelict.

"It doesn’t make the area look any good. It’s better to make use of the site.”

How the Plough could look (9789090)
How the Plough could look (9789090)

Ralph and Alistair expect the plans to be submitted to the city council in June.

Despite this, they are still considering whether to appeal the authority’s decision to refuse their proposals earlier this year.

“It depends on how much support we get from locals for the new scheme,” Alistair continued.

“The Co-op originally approached us about it and is still very keen because it’s a great opportunity for it.”

Read more: All the latest news from Herne Bay.

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