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Campaigners lose their fight to save Royal Oak pub in Cooling Road, Frindsbury

By Medway Messenger reporter

An historic pub is set to be converted into homes after planners gave the go-ahead to convert the 17th century building into a house.

Campaigners who tried to save historic building say they are disgusted with the decision.

The Royal Oak pub's future, which had previously been saved from the bulldozers, was decided at a planning meeting held at Medway Council headquarters, in Chatham, on Tuesday.

Developers have been granted planning permission to convert the historic pub in homes.
Developers have been granted planning permission to convert the historic pub in homes.

The planning committee approved an application submitted by developers, Interesting Developments, to turn the historic Royal Oak Pub in Frindsbury, into four bedroom home with further homes built on the rest of the land.

The approval comes after campaigners, the Save the Royal Oak Group, put up a long fight to save the building.

They had been successful in their petition which led Medway Council to place a community order on the pub in Cooling Road and it was listed as an Asset of Community Value.

The pub in Cooling Road
The pub in Cooling Road

Initial plans to demolish the public house, which is said to contain part of a historic ship, were withdrawn by the developer after the move, but then new plans were submitted.

They meant the main part of the building, would remain but the developers would knock down its wing extensions, and turn it into a home with four bedrooms.

Among the councillors who voted to approve the plans were, Cllrs Tashi Buthia, David Royle, Habib Tejan, Martin Potter, David Carr, Les Wicks, Stuart Tranter and Glyn Griffiths.

Head campaigner Joe O'Donnell is appalled at the decision.
Head campaigner Joe O'Donnell is appalled at the decision.

Allison Parkinson, secretary of the campaign group, which was led by Joe O'Donnell, said: “After its listing as an Asset of Community Value and so many people objecting to the plans, it feels like the council just don’t care what the community think.

"It’s sad that while the council is slashing the Sure Start Centre budget to pay for the Battle of Medway celebrations, it refuses to protect the pub that actually contains part of the HMS Royal Oak sunk at the battle.”

The group is not only worried about the demolition of the pub but the congestion the new homes will cause on the road.

Mr O’Donnell, expressed his thanks to Councillors Dorte Gilry, Gary Etheridge, Nick Bowler and Andy Stamp who at the meeting said the plans for the conversion of the building, went against the council’s own policies.

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