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Action group set up to protect the Hook and Hatchet pub in Hucking

By Anna Young

Villagers are hoping to stop pub owners from calling time at the bar.

More than 30 people are backing a campaign to save the Hook and Hatchet, in Hucking, after it was put on the market by Shepherd Neame.

The recently formed action group met to discuss the possibility of buying the inn by using a community trust. The freehold for the public house is being advertised for £450,000.

Villagers and business owners who are pulling together to buy the pub
Villagers and business owners who are pulling together to buy the pub

Dora Pilkington, of Coldblow Farm in Thurnham, said: “I’d say 99% of people at the meeting were in favour of the idea.

“The pub is a lifeline for people who live and own businesses here as it’s a rural area. It’s always been popular with horse riders.”

Mrs Pilkington runs holiday homes at her site in Coldblow Lane and fellow campaigner Kate Blacker owns This Art of Mine studio in nearby Little Budds Farm.

Mrs Blacker said: “We usually split the day sessions into two halves and used to send them off for lunch at the pub as we don’t have kitchen facilities here, so at the moment we’re having to travel out to customers.”

The Hook and Hatchet has been closed since October after the previous managers left for unknown reasons.

The Hook and Hatchet on Church Road in Hucking
The Hook and Hatchet on Church Road in Hucking

Although the campaign is at an early stage, villagers are keen to take action amid fears the building could be bought by developers.

Samantha Mabb moved to Scragged Oak Road from Penenden Heath, in Maidstone, four years ago.

She said: “I’m into horses so I was more than happy to move to the countryside but the pub was a deal-sealer for my other half.

“For us, it was a great way of socialising and making friends in a pretty isolated area.”

The group is discussing its proposal with The Plunkett Foundation, an organisation which provides advice for rural areas looking to go through the community-ownership process.

If you would like be involved, email dora@coldblowfarm.co.uk or kate@thisartofmine.co.uk

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