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Bid to keep historic pub, The Royal Oak, in Cooling Road, Frindsbury out of developer’s hands

By Lynn Cox

Campaigners are hoping to stop the demolition of a 300-year-old pub by getting the building listed.

Residents in Frindsbury are unhappy about plans to knock down the Royal Oak pub in Cooling Road to make way for six three-bedroom houses.

A petition started by Joe O’Donnell calls on Medway Council to issue a building preservation notice to prevent the Georgian pub being demolished. It has already been signed by almost 1,000 people.

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The Royal Oak Pub could be demolished
The Royal Oak Pub could be demolished

Agent Nicholas Taylor and Associates, acting on behalf of a developer, has sent people living in the area a letter informing them of their plans to replace the 18th century building with a terrace of six homes.

The letter stated Medway Council’s initial response to the plans had been very positive.

The pub, which dates back to the 1700s, closed in September last year when it was sold by Enterprise Inns.

VIDEO: Bid to save historic pub

The building is unlisted and not in a conservation area, so no planning permission is needed to pull it down. Permission is only needed to build the houses on the site.

Mr O’Donnell, who lives in Cooling Road, set up the campaign to urge Medway Council to issue a building preservation notice due to its architectural and historic interest. Supporters say the building could be listable and needs closer inspection.

Mr O’Donnell, 32, said: “I have many happy memories of the Royal Oak.

An old photograph of the pub in its heyday
An old photograph of the pub in its heyday

“It could use some investment but it is a great pub which has been at the heart of the community for hundreds of years.

“This historic building deserves better than demolition.

“Medway Council must back our call for a building preservation notice or its commitment to our heritage will be in doubt.

“I will be writing to Kelly Tolhurst MP to ask her to support our campaign.”

Joe O’Donnell, 32, started the campaign
Joe O’Donnell, 32, started the campaign

To sign the petition, visit www.change.org/p/medway-council-don-t-demolish-the-georgian-royal-oak-pub-in-frindsbury-rochester

On Wednesday the pub will be open from 6pm until 7.30pm so people can go look at the plans and talk to developers about the project.

A formal planning application has not yet been submitted to Medway Council.

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