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Outrage over shock decision to shut The Flying Saucer pub in Hempstead

A decision to close a popular community pub at short notice has sparked shock and outrage among its loyal customers and residents.

Staff at The Flying Saucer in Hempstead were told yesterday (Wednesday) that last orders will be called next Saturday, June 8.

The Flying Saucer in Hempstead will close next week
The Flying Saucer in Hempstead will close next week

A spokesman for the brewery Greene King told KentOnline: “Closing a pub is never an easy decision, so it is with great regret that we have decided to close the Flying Saucer in Gillingham and our last day of trading will be on Saturday June 8.

“The property will be returned to the freeholder and our focus will remain on supporting our team members at this time.”

As soon as the announcement was posted on social media, within 24 hours more than 150 people vented their anger, with some calling for a petition to keep it open and form a co-operative to take it over.

One resident said: “This is such a bad idea. Community pubs disappearing everywhere.”

Another added: “Omg gutted - been our local for a very long time. Great memories.”

The opening of The Flying Saucer in 1951. Credit : Images of Medway
The opening of The Flying Saucer in 1951. Credit : Images of Medway

The boozer in Hempstead Road is described as “the heart of the village” and the closure the “end of an era” for locals, some of whom had frequented it for decades.

A popular live sports venue, only this week the brewery Greene King advertised it as the ideal place to watch the upcoming football Euros competition which starts in a fortnight.

It said: “Looking for an unforgettable football-filled summer? The Flying Saucer has got you covered! With big screens and a great atmosphere, you won’t want to miss a match.

“It's going to be one to remember, so to make sure you get a great view, we'd recommend you secure your seat now.”

The country’s leading pub retailer was also encouraging families to treat dads for a slap-up meal for Father’s Day on Sunday, June 16.

The pub is also popular for its quiz nights and karaoke sessions and has a revamped beer garden for alfresco dining and drinking.

The pub has existed under its name since 1951 when the licence of the former Shipwright Arms in Brompton was transferred to its current location on Hempstead Road and opened with the unusual name.

It is said to be one of the first pubs in England to feature spacecraft on its sign.

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