Monday, 19 October 2015

Sennockian to stay as JDW

This post is primarily aimed at local readers, although it may be of some interest to those living further afield.

In a dramatic about turn, pub operator JD Wetherspoon has decided to take its Sevenoaks pub off the market. The Sennockian was put up for sale back in July, as part of a package of 20 pubs scattered throughout the country. Now the company has stated the pub will remain open "for many years to come".

Wetherspoons said there had been interest from a number of prospective buyers, but it had decided to take into account the views of local customers and townspeople, who wished to see it continue as a JDW outlet. Lobbying by former Sevenoaks Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Alan Bullion, also played a key role in helping to change the company's mind.

Wetherspoon's spokesman, Eddie Gershon said: "They made it clear that they wanted The Sennockian to remain a Wetherspoon pub and we have responded to that. The Sennockian has been a Wetherspoon pub since 1999 and we look forward to welcoming customers through its doors for many years to come. We are certain that the pub's loyal customers as well as our staff will be delighted with the news."

This is obviously good news for both local drinkers and Sevenoak's residents; many of whom have frequented the Sennockian since it first opened its doors. I am wondering though, whether this change of heart is purely a local phenomenon, or will other pubs on the "for sale" list also be granted a reprieve?

With thanks to the Sevenoaks Chronicle for breaking this story.


Curmudgeon said...

When the disposal list was initially announced I thought that was perhaps the least justifiable of all. Surely the trade in Sevenoaks isn't that different from that in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells?

RedNev said...

That's good news, and it demonstrates the difference between Wetherspoons and Punch when being lobbied by customers. In Liverpool, the story is not so rosy for the Roscoe Head, one only five pubs in every GBG. Punch sold it to a property developer and its future is uncertain.

Anonymous said...

I know a lot of older folk who are very loyal to Spoons, having had consistent meals and service both locally and on holiday. They might have heard of Harvester/Beefeater but they couldn't name another pub chain. I read that, second only to Nandos (!), a Spoons is what most people want in their town if they lack one.

Paul Bailey said...

Sevenoaks is definitely more upmarket than Tonbridge or Tunbridge Wells, Mudge. The latter, despite its supposed snootiness (think “Disgusted, Tunbridge Wells”), does have its rough areas and grot spots. Tonbridge, with its excellent rail links to London, is something of a dormitory town; although the same could be said of Sevenoaks.

The Sennockian was the first Spoons to open in the West Kent area, so it would have been a shame to see it closed, or sold off. News has just reached me that the JDW outlet in Purley, The Foxley Hatch, has also been reprieved. The news follows an 1,800 signature petition presented to the company.

This backs up what you are saying Nev, about Wetherspoon’s listening to their customers. Good luck with the campaign to save the Roscoe Head. I really can’t understand the mentality behind the decision to sell it off like that, and especially to a developer with such a poor track record of keeping pubs open.

I agree with your comment retiredmartin, about the popularity of Spoons with the older generation. Ironically, it was one of our oldest branch members (now sadly departed), who played a key role in helping Wetherspoon’s to open in Sevenoaks. There was strong opposition at the time, from both the LVA and the Police. Undeterred, Brian attended and spoke at the hearing at the local magistrates’ court which successfully overruled the objections from these two bodies, thereby allowing the Sennockian to open in the town. He would not have been happy to have seen the pub sold off!