Saturday, 8 April 2017

Greyhound to re-open

Fran & Richard - the Greyhound's new owners

I mentioned in a previous post that there was some good news to share, and as fellow Tonbridgian, Greengrass hinted at, it does indeed relate to the Greyhound at Charcott.

Regular readers will remember this attractive, late-Victorian local closed back in January, and was facing an uncertain future. I am now pleased to report that local couple, Fran and Richard Gilliat-Smith have acquired the pub and are currently hard at work getting the place ready to start trading again.

Fran, of course is no stranger to local drinkers, as until recently she worked behind the bar of the Windmill, at Sevenoaks Weald. I understand that Richard is a carpenter and builder, so his skills are being put to the test, right now, sorting out the necessary improvements to the Greyhound.

Beer lovers keen to renew their acquaintance with the Greyhound, will have to wait a little longer, as quite a few improvements are necessary, following years of only basic maintenance by former owners,  Enterprise Inns. The couple’s intention is to have the pub ready for re-opening on the late May Bank Holiday; but this could slip depending on how the improvement work progresses.

I’m not sure what the Fran and Richard’s plans are for the Greyhound, but the pub will operate as a free-house and will definitely be stocking Larkin’s beer. I imagine food will play an important role, and it is reported that work is being carried out on the dining room area. I also understand they will be able to carry on leasing the garden area at the side, which is welcome news, especially with summer not far off now.
 One thing which is certainly worth reporting is, the ACV (Asset of Community Value), obtained for the pub by Charcott residents, with the support of the local West Kent CAMRA Branch, was not only instrumental in seeing off a buyer who wished to convert it to residential use, but it also helped the new owners in their price negotiations with Enterprise. Who says that ACV’s don’t work?

Like many people who live or work in the vicinity of Charcott, I am  really looking forward to the Greyhound re-opening, and wish its new owners every success with their new undertaking.


RedNev said...

Good to hear that what sounds like a decent pub is to reopen. It's interesting that, although the pub had closed, it was saved by the actions of locals. A pub closing doesn't mean it is economically unviable; it might mean the owners want an injection of cash and selling a pub for redevelopment is the best way to get it. Consequently, it can be in the owners' interests to assert that that a pub is no longer viable, even if that's not true. I hope the Greyhound succeeds.

Paul Bailey said...

I think that the Greyhound will be viable, now that it is the hands of sympathetic and experienced owners. The fact that will be a freehouse will also undoubtedly assist.

There are issues relating to car-parking and the garden area, but I’m sure these will be overcome by the new owners. There’s a whole world of difference between conducting negotiations on a local basis, and relying on the Pub Co head office to try and handle this. It’s also good that the action of local people played a role in helping to secure the Greyhound’s future.