serving the villages of 
Charing and 
Charing Heath
 
 
 


Update - January 28th, 2017


On January 26th Goldex, the Costa Coffee franchisee, lost their appeal against ABC's refusal of planning permission for a change of use from a mixed A3/A4 use - that is a public house combined with a restaurant - to a sole A3 (restaurant) use. This effectively means it has to remain as a public house. 


The main ground on which the Inspector dismissed the appeal was the effect of the social well being of the local community. The building's status as an asset of community value was important here. The Inspector also noted the impact on the function room and the hotel parts of the building. 


The Inspector's decision can be read in full here



 Oak update January 5th 2017

Many thanks to all of you who commented on the appeal made by Goldex in respect of Ashford’s decision to refuse the change of use. Many of you did and your comments can now be seen on ABC’s website at http://planning.ashford.gov.uk/planning/details.aspx?systemkey=103569  (the penultimate document on the “plans and documents” tab titled “3rd party correspondence”). The appellant’s final comments can also be seen. 

The number of comments made both at appeal stage and at the initial application stage, and the many good arguments in them, should make it abundantly clear that there is a real need for The Oak to remain as a pub with its restaurant, hotel accommodation and function room. They also show that there are many good and sound planning reasons why it should so remain. 

It is now in the hands of the planning inspector and we can but wait. Meanwhile however Goldex have put in a further application for listed building consent 16/0173/AS see http://planning.ashford.gov.uk/planning/details.aspx?systemkey=105134 .   This is an application to move the manager’s flat from where it is (at the front of the first floor) to the area where most of the hotel bedrooms were. This would take up 5 of the six bedrooms. The application says that the manager’s flat area could be converted into hotel bedrooms. However no details of how this could be done are shown. The proposed manager’s flat would cut off the existing independent access to the hotel bedrooms including the one that remains so one wonders how hotel customers would get to their bedrooms when the pub or the Costa is closed….

The Parish Council has queried with ABC whether, without plans showing how the hotel accommodation is to be arranged, this amounts to an effective change of use which then should have a change of use application (rather than just a listed building consent application) since the building is an Asset of Community Value. We have not though convinced ABC (at least not yet). 

Although the deadline for comments is shown as December 30th, we have had an extension from ABC so comments can still be made on this application if people wish (but bear in mind it is a listed building consent application). 



Updated 22nd November 2016

The Oak – a pub with no beer, just coffee?

Is that really what you want for your village?

·       Would you like the Oak to once again be a true village pub?  

·       A place to meet, make friends, relax, enjoy a drink and a meal – and a place where visitors to Charing can stay?

·       Would you like to have a village pub that you don’t need to drive to?

·       Do you believe that the Oak would be successful if efficiently and sympathetically run as a village pub that truly understands and welcomes the community?

If you answered YES to any of the above, then please read on and help keep the Oak a central asset to the village as a pub, not a Costa coffee shop

Goldex, the Costa Coffee franchisee, has now appealed against Ashford Borough Council’s decision to refuse permission for the change of use of the Oak from a pub to a coffee shop. The appeal documents, including Goldex’s “statement of case” can be seen on the ABC website under planning application planning application number 16/00698/AS.  We now only have until the 6th December to counter the appeal so it is important that we, as a village, act swiftly

If you previously submitted a comment on the original application this has been forwarded to the Inspector. If you haven’t, or want to say more, you can really help and make a difference by commenting now! Here’s how:

·        You can simply make a comment either online, by email or by post

o   Online:  Go to Appeal number 3156139 on the Planning Inspectorate website and click the Make Representation button

o   Email: comments can be sent to East1@pins.gsi.gov.uk quoting the full appeal reference APP/E2205/W/16/3156139

o   By Post: send two copies of your letter, again quoting the reference APP/E2205/W/16/3156139 to the: Planning Inspectorate, Room 3P,  Kite Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Bristol, BS1 6PN

All comments are welcome but any comments you can make regarding arguments in the applicant’s statement of case would be particularly welcome.

If you would like to save your village pub, The Oak, then please do take a few minutes to make your thoughts and feelings known by sending in your comments and objections as detailed above. We can save it!

Thank You for your time and help

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The Oak and Costa Coffee (update 12th October 2016)

The Oak was sold in March 2016 to DLM Investments, a property company. We understand that they are letting part of the ground floor to Goldex, which is a franchisee of Costa Coffee, running over 50 Costas in the South East. (The owner of Goldex, Diljit Brar, is one of the three owners of DLM.)

The intention of Goldex to turn part of the Oak into a Costa Coffee became apparent in late April when they applied for listed building consent to make some internal alterations and change the external signs. The Parish Council nominated it as an Asset of Community Value   and the listing was confirmed by Ashford Borough Council’s legal department shortly after. This then obliged Goldex to make a proper application for change of use – otherwise they could have changed it to a coffee bar anyway. Neither Goldex nor DLM Investments challenged the nomination and they are now out of time to do so. 

Meanwhile the Parish Council wrote to Goldex See Link and to Costa Coffee See Link  The letters enclosed copies of a petition signed by A number of parishioners also wrote or emailed. Members of the Council met Mr Brar but he refused to change his plans. 

Ashford Borough Council refused the change of use application at the beginning of August. Goldex appealed later in the month. The appeal documents are not yet (as of 20th October) available as they have not yet been validated by the Planning Inspectorate (this can take up to 10 weeks). 

ABC’s website has all the documents relating to the change of use application see link This includes the applicant’s arguments, all the comments and objections made including those by the Parish Council, and the Planning Officer’s decision. The application documents will be there in due course. 

The Costa Coffee application only covers part of the ground floor. We were told when we met Mr Brar that DLM had “not yet decided” what they want to do with the rest of the building.

The Parish Council will fight the appeal when it appears.

 

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