Some of us have been aware of this possible new outlet for some time, but following the approval of planning permission, I can now announce that a former jeweller’s shop in the High Street is set to become a bar offering a selection of cask ales, and possibly craft beers as well.
The prospective tenant is Beer Seller Ltd, which currently runs the well-known Halfway House pub at Brenchley, near Paddock Wood. The Halfway House has built up a name for itself locally thanks to its well-kept "real ales" served straight from the cask, and the plan is to offer something similar in Tonbridge.
In their submission to the local planning authority, the new owners stated they had been looking for a suitable location for a second establishment for some time. They went on to say that they felt the location to be ideal for a successful bar facility, which would be used by shoppers, office workers and the general public visiting the High Street, and also travellers using the station.
It had been known for some time, especially amongst local CAMRA members, that the Halfway House was looking for an urban outlet to complement their rural one, so were only too happy to offer their backing when the news broke. Several of us wrote letters of support to the planning committee, in respect of the application, and are pleased that the application was successful.
Summing up their reasons for approving the proposals, the planning committee said: “The application will enhance the viability and vitality of the town centre and contribute towards both the quality and quantity of the facilities available on Tonbridge High Street.”
They went on to say, “The potential impact on the amenity of nearby residents can be mitigated through the imposition of planning conditions controlling amplified music and opening hours.”
To avoid disturbance to nearby properties, the pub’s business hours must be between 9am to 11pm on Monday to Saturday and 11am to 10.30pm on Sundays. Similarly, a ban on live or amplified music has been put in place in the interests of residential amenity.
Overall, there were four objections to the plans and ten in favour. A neighbour in favour said: “The applicant has a good track record of running successful and award-winning outlets. If it’s as good as The Halfway House then it will be a great asset to the town.”
The owners now have a maximum of three years to develop the site, before the planning permission expires. I seem to recall the plans were displayed on the local authority’s planning application site, but now the proposals have been approved, I am unable to find them.
However, having seen the site from both the outside as well as the interior, I would say a reasonable amount of work is required, but nothing too drastic. In the meantime, watch this space for further news.