Blaze-hit pub unlikely to re-open before next year
Plans to restore a historic pub which was badly damaged by fire have been submitted to the council, but the landlord says work is still months away.
The Hooden on the Hill in Silver Hill Road, Willesborough Lees, has been closed since the blaze at the end of November last year.
The pub which dates back to the 17th century. It had formerly been the Rose Inn and is a Grade II listed building.
Flames spread from the back of the building and caused damage to the wooden timber frames, while the building suffered further damage from waterlogging as fireman battled to save it.
Now seven months later, Design ID has put forward plans on behalf of the building owner Punch Taverns, with plans to restore the pub.
But landlord Howard Lapish says that while the tender for the contract to rebuild was due in last week, work could still take until January to complete.
Mr Lapish said: “The target I have been given is January or February, I don’t think it will be Landlord Howard Lapish in the bar showing some of the damage after the fire at the Hooden on the Hill - inset this side of Christmas. I do want to make changes internally and with things like the menus and layout, but as far as I know it will go back like for like.
“I’m sure I will be able to make a few tweaks.
“We have to get a new team of staff in as everyone has gone on to find new jobs.”
Punch Taverns is in talks to be taken over by Dutch firm Heineken, and Mr Lapish believes the deal could have an impact on what changes he can make at the pub when it reopens.
He added that while it was disappointing to lose revenue from Christmas bookings, he will be able to go back into the pub in the new year to give it a fresh start.
Two residents have complained to the council that they have not been consulted about the proposed restoration, and have called for the planning application to be resubmitted.
To view the plans online, visit the planning section at www.ashford.gov.uk and search for reference 17/00903/AS.