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Co-op plans for Plough Inn in Herne Bay refused by Canterbury City Council again

Controversial plans to demolish a disused pub have been rejected for the second time in less than 12 months.

Father-and-son developers Alistair and Ralph Noel had hoped to build five flats and a Co-op on the site of the former Plough Inn in Herne Bay, after submitting the proposals to Canterbury City Council in November.

The Margate Road site has been at the centre of controversy since the pair’s original plan to build the convenience store and seven homes was unveiled in May.

A computer generated image of the corner of the development (4971861)
A computer generated image of the corner of the development (4971861)

Council officers refused it, stating it was “harmful to the character and appearance of the area” because it was “poorly designed” and “visually incongruous”.

The Noels believe their revised scheme had addressed the local authority’s concerns, but planning officers have once again rejected it.

Alistair said: “We are disappointed and frustrated that neither the local councillor Mrs Sonnex nor the parish council supported this application. We did a survey within 120 metres of the Plough and of the 100 responses to it, 95 wholeheartedly supported our application.

“We addressed every issue that was on the previous refusal, and the planning officers, led by Simon Thomas, decided to find yet more reasons to refuse. We will appeal this poor decision.”

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

By lowering the number of homes on the site, the developer hoped to have eased the planning officers’ fears that the flats in the original scheme were of a “poor size and quality”.

But, in their latest decision, they stated that the development would have provided “cramped accommodation”, led to the “unacceptable loss of a community facility” and that the Noels had failed to show how it would not harm road safety.

Like before, they also noted that the site would have been out of character with the rest of the area.

Alistair continued: “We are, with the backing of locals, trying to improve the vicinity with an attractive building with a shop and one-bedroom units.

How the former Plough Inn looks now
How the former Plough Inn looks now

“For the city council to deny this application on delegated powers is a travesty when the whole country is looking for job creation, sustainability and for very affordable new rental properties aimed at younger people.”

Alistair also says officers triggered the “demise” of the Plough Inn, which was gutted in a suspected arson attack in August, by granting applications for the nearby Harvester and Table Table pubs.

Council spokesman Rob Davies said: “All applications are considered on their own merits and in line with national and local planning policies, as the developers behind the proposals know.

“Should they appeal, we will robustly defend our position.”

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