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Campaign to save Royal Oak pub in Strood, led by Joe O’Donnell, needs to raise £450,000

By Jade Edwards

A campaign group which saved a historic pub from demolition now has six months to raise £450,000 to buy it back from developers.

The Royal Oak in Cooling Road, Frindsbury, was saved from the bulldozers when history-loving Joe O’Donnell and supporters had the building listed, forcing a plan for housing to be withdrawn.

The Save the Royal Oak campaign has now been given six months to raise the cash to buy the pub, believed to date back to the 17th century.

Campaigners outside The Royal Oak in Cooling Road, Frindsbury
Campaigners outside The Royal Oak in Cooling Road, Frindsbury

The pub is thought to contain timber from HMS Royal Oak, sunk by the Dutch in 1664 at Upnor.

Campaign chairman, Mr O’Donnell, said: “We are hoping that the developers will give us a reasonable price for the pub and garden. They had previously asked for offers in excess of £450,000 plus VAT for the pub with the car park but excluding the garden.

“This is a very high price given that they have done no work to the pub - they paid £275,000 plus £55,000 VAT for the pub including the garden in September 2015.

“It is clear to us that by selling the pub separately, the developer intends to try and build houses on the garden which is part of the asset of community value and would severely impact the setting of the Grade II listed pub.”

Joe O'Donnell wants to save the pub
Joe O'Donnell wants to save the pub

Mr O’Donnell is now calling on Medway Council to designate the garden as a local green space.

He added: “This would give it the same level of protection as greenbelt land and ensure that it can’t be built on. Medway Council taking this action would save the community years of planning fights and give the pub a much better chance of survival.”

The group will also be launching a fundraising campaign to help them raise enough funds to buy the pub.

For more information search Save the Royal Oak Pub Frindsbury on Facebook or follow @SaveOak on Twitter.

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