Published: 13:48, 26 October 2018
| Updated: 14:48, 26 October 2018
A prominent landlord says noise complaints have forced him to call time at his pub.
Rob Cowan has stood behind the bar at The Woolpack in Tenterden High Street for six and a half years, turning around the fortunes of the then abandoned hostelry.
His tenure was not without controversy as his decision to paint the 15th century pub a heritage pink colour in 2014 saw him clash with Ashford Borough Council (ABC) and ultimately lose an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.
The grade II listed building was returned to its original shade of white last summer, despite the backing of more than 500 people who signed a petition asking for the pub to remain pink.
Speaking at the time Mr Cowan said he had never received "a single complaint" from customers about the new hue, which he had chosen to help market the pub and give it a distinct identity.
But it was a run-in with a small number of Eastwell Meadows residents, whose protests about the noise coming from the pub's adjacent live music venue the Barrelhouse barn, that Mr Cowan says forced his decision to quit The Woolpack.
The Eastwell Meadows Management Company, triggered a review of Mr Cowan's music licence which was revoked by ABC in October 2016, after which he was permitted to apply for a maximum of 15 temporary events notices per year.
Mr Cowan, who will vacate The Woolpack during the week of November 12, said he staged just seven events last year: "I warned at the time it would make it very difficult to continue at The Woolpack and without full use of the barn the business that we want to run is not commercially viable.
"The complaints of a tiny number of residents who chose to live near a 500-year-old pub have meant that we are unable to continue."
Mr Cowan added: "Ashford council needs to encourage and support small businesses and cut traders a bit of slack."
In a message to his supporters Mr Cowan said: "We would like to thank our staff, our suppliers and our customers for their involvement and loyalty over the years and we offer our gratitude and thanks to everyone involved. We would like to think that we have been a force for good on the High Street and that hope that we leave having contributed to the community in a positive way."
The pub is due to be taken over by Hush Heath Inns.
A spokesman for ABC said: "The council has previously gone on record stating the reasons behind our decisions over the temporary licences for events following receiving noise complaints from neighbours.
"Regarding our decision over the colour of the pub, this was endorsed by an independent planning inspector, we therefore do not wish to comment any further."