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Romney Marsh: Plans to convert former Royal Mail pub in Lydd into three homes

By Molly Mileham-Chappell

A former pub over 270-years-old could be turned into three homes, if planning permission is granted.

The Royal Mail, in Park Street in Lydd, was constructed in the 18th century as a coaching inn and had operated as a pub until it shut in April 2017.

Now, Chris Stace from Mont Calm Asset Management Ltd has applied to change the use of the building into three dwellings, including demolition of outbuildings and a small side extension.

The Royal Mail, Lydd. Credit: Google Maps (6658590)
The Royal Mail, Lydd. Credit: Google Maps (6658590)

Within the development, there would be two three-bedroom homes and one four-bedroom property.

In the design and access statement, agent William Hickman of Rubicon Building Consultancy Ltd, on behalf of the applicant, said it was not in a fit state to return to use as a pub.

The statement reads: “It is estimated that in order to bring the public house up to a standard where it can try to compete would require an investment of between £100,000 - £150,000 in addition to the initial purchase price.

“It is unlikely that anyone would be prepared to invest such sums of money in a pub that has struggled for many years to compete with other establishments in Lydd.”

It adds that the economic demand for the facility is no longer there in Lydd. Former owner Shepherd Neame decided to put the building up for sale after the brewery decided it was no longer viable "from a business point of view".

"In order to bring the public house up to a standard where it can try to compete would require an investment of between £100,000 - £150,000..." William Hickman

The building, which is unlisted but lies within the conservation area, would provide three private entrances to the homes.

Refuse storage would be available in each garden, with one parking space for each property at the rear with access alongside the new homes.

The proposal excludes the pub car park and beer garden because development for four more dwellings has already been approved for this area but has not yet been built.

The property went under the hammer with Clive Emson auctioneers with a freehold guide price of £180,000 to £200,000 in May 2017 but fetched £230,000 in the sale. There were fears at the time that the building would not reopen as a pub.

Among its previous landlords was former Lydd Mayor Tom Dawes, who ran the pub for four years until October 2015. In January 2016, the premises suffered a chimney fire but it was put out by firefighters within 40 minutes, using a thermal imaging camera to check for hot spots and fire spread.

The pub, built in 1746, featured a memorial to Spitfire pilot Bill Marshall in the lobby and had a £25,000 refurbishment in 2011. It’s closure was the third blow to the town’s night time economy in as many years, following the closure of The Star Inn and The Bridge Inn.

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