Pub's orders to bid for garden

THERE are only two left in Gravesham – but now a rare air raid warden post from the Second World War is about to be sold off by the council.

The concrete box doesn’t look much, but a member of the Gravesham historical society is concerned that the sale of land it sits on, could put its future at risk.

Victor Smith wrote to Gravesham Borough Council when it announced its intention to put the piece of land, at the corner of Lawn Road and Northfleet High Street, up for auction this summer.

He said: “Air raid wardens posts built as such have become a particular rarity.

“Gravesham had four of them but now has two left. One was demolished by a public authority several years ago and the other disappeared (by whose action I do not know) from the entrance area for car parking next to the new Sikh temple.”

He has written to English Heritage to try and get a protection order on it, but a spokesman for the organisation said it could take time.

A spokesman for the council said: “The wardens’ shelter would become the responsibility of the new owner dependant on the outcome of the application for a preservation order.”

He is not the only one unhappy at the proposed sale of land.

Clive Selves has been the landlord of the Edinburgh Castle pub in Northfleet for the last 20 years.

For the last two of those he has rented the patch of council land for £500 a year and turned it into an attractive pub garden.

He was stunned to learn the council intends to put it up for auction, when he says he has offered to pay double the asking price.

He added: “This garden has saved my business from the effects of the smoking ban, in fact it now accounts for about 50 per cent of my business.

“I have offered to buy it from the council but they insist it must go to auction to get the best price.”

Over 70 of his customers signed a petition to keep the land as a pub garden, but a report going the council’s cabinet on Monday, June 2, recommends going ahead with the auction.

A council spokesman responded by saying: “We are obliged to obtain the best price which is why the land is going to auction. He is welcome to bid at the auction and we have made this clear to him.”

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