Is Ashford being overwhelmed Fears for future of historic pub
Proud Ashfordians fear another piece of the town’s history could be flattened after a developer revealed plans to demolish an old pub.
The British Volunteer in New Street was closed by Shepherd Neame last summer and the windows were boarded up soon after.
In September last year Galahad Developments Ltd made an application to convert it into six new flats along with an additional three new two-bedroom homes on land behind it.
But the plans for flats and homes has sparked opposition from residents, and is still being considered by council planners.
Last week, Galahad Developments submitted a demolition notification to Ashford Borough Council, which would see an exclusion zone set up while the pub is knocked down. Not even the foundations would be spared.
Ashford Museum curator Ian Sharp is among those objecting to the plan. He said the pub has strong links to the town’s former regimental barracks at Barrow Hill.
He said: “It’s been in the town
British Volunteer, New Street and inset; Ian Sharp since before the Crimean War. It’s original name was the Bricklayers Arms but it changed after the Crimean War to the British Volunteer.
“It was used as an army recruitment office right up until the First World War, so it’s another focal point of history being lost in the town.
“My great grandfather Thomas Sharp was a publican there from the 1840s until the 1880s so I have a connection to it and an interest in saving it for future generations.
“For Ashfordians who have still got pride in the town it means a lot to see those buildings stay there. There is little left of the old Ashford. It doesn’t have to remain as a pub, it’s just important that the building is left standing as a historical reminder.
“Since the 1960s there have been a lot of changes, we’ve had the ring road, Charter House and other developments. It’s a pity that the town centre conservation didn’t extend up as far as the British Volunteer and former Prince of Orange at the top of New Street.”
What do you think? Write to Kentish Express, 34-36 North Street, Ashford, TN24 8JR or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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