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Aylesford: Housing application approved for The Little Gem, in High Street

A village pub which once claimed to be the smallest in the country looks unlikely to ever pour a pint again.

A year-long planning saga finally came to an end last night as Tonbridge and Malling borough councillors approved an application to turn The Little Gem, Aylesford, into a house.

There may be a glimmer of hope for the 12th century High Street building as the owner James O’Callaghan said he would still talk to potential landlords.

The Little Gem in Aylesford
The Little Gem in Aylesford

Although Cllr Mike Parry-Waller, chairman of the area three planning committee, said it is unlikely to ever reopen as a pub.

He said: "The owner is a reasonable man and said he will speak to people if they want to make an offer.

"He's been trying to sell it for six years and I don't think it would ever open as a pub again. It's just not big enough."

Lin Sharpe was among those who objected to the plan for The Little Gem
Lin Sharpe was among those who objected to the plan for The Little Gem

He added traditionally the building has always been a dwelling and only got a licence in the 70s.

The plan came to light early last year and was met with fierce opposition from residents, with more than 4,500 people signing a petition to stop development.

Despite this the parish council raised no objection to the plan and the proposal was recommended for approval.

A linked application to make minor alterations to the front of the listed premises was also approved.

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