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The Plough Inn, Trottiscliffe, saved from redevelopment by village committee

Up and down the country there are campaigners fighting to save their local pub.

In Trottiscliffe, near West Malling, villagers can say that fight is nearly over.

Oliver Shaw, Ian Mills, Jeremy Comber, Alison Prountzos and Laura Piggott outside The Plough in Trottiscliffe
Oliver Shaw, Ian Mills, Jeremy Comber, Alison Prountzos and Laura Piggott outside The Plough in Trottiscliffe

In September 2017 The Plough Inn, a 500-year-old building made of two old farm cottages, was sold by Enterprise Inns.

At first it sounded like good news for the village. The pub had closed that July, 200 years since it had first got an alcohol licence.

Ian Mills explained: "We found out the pub had been sold, we though that was a good sale at the time.

"But it turned out it had been bought at by a property developer."

The private developer had eyes on converting the historic inn on Taylors Lane into a house and building a second home in its car park.

The Plough public house on the left. Pictured in 1985
The Plough public house on the left. Pictured in 1985

Villagers were quickly sacrificing their own time to protect the pub.

Sales and marketing director Mr Mills explained: "We're quite lucky in Trottiscliffe, we've got two pubs.

"The George is a destination pub, people come from miles away to enjoy the food and the atmosphere.

"But The Plough is very much our local, a lot of people believed it should be retained as a pub.

"At the time we were lucky, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council agreed with us and marked it as a community asset, that protected it from development."

Ian Mills. Picture: Matthew Walker
Ian Mills. Picture: Matthew Walker

Since then the village has been on a mission - to raise enough money and buy the pub and protect it for itself.

Up to 30 people have dipped into their own coffers, raising £350,000 in the process.

Last Friday contracts were exchanged and The Plough officially became a community owned pub.

Mr Mills, from Pinesfield Lane, said: "We've still got to raise about £100,000 to cover the cost of the pub but I'm confident that money will come in. We have a tenant ready to go and we want to make sure the inside is looking ready."

After paying the £450,000 asking price, the committee expects to spend an extra £120,000 refurbishing the pub.

Once open, Mr Wells says the village is committed to making the pub work for locals.

The Pinesfield Lane resident: "We want to use local produce wherever possible. There is a cheesemaker in nearby Fairseat we'd like to use, Our village school has a small farm attached to it and we'd like to use eggs from there too.

"The pub is free house which means we're free to use any of the small microbreweries Kent has to offer."

To celebrate its nearing success, Trottiscliffe villagers will be able to meet The Plough's new tenant next month.

'Plough Uncorked ' will be at Trottiscliffe Village Hall on the evening of February 10 at 7pm.

The Plough will hopefully reopen at Easter.

Read more: All the latest news from Malling.


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