Update 28 August 2016
Launch of Community Share Scheme. Click here to see the Press Release.
Update 2nd March 2016
DDC advises the owner intends to sell the property and formal notice is given as an Asset of Community Value. Click here for the DDC notification
Update 25th February 2016
DDC’s Planning Committee this evening decided against allowing the conversion of the Chequer Inn to a residential dwelling. Details in the decision document will be linked here when it is made publicly available.
Update 16th February 2016
DDC’s Planning Committee will decide planning applications 15/00624 and 15/00625 at its meeting on Thursday Feb 25th, commencing at 6.00pm. The Parish Council has been advised by the Save the Chequer campaign group that the Planning Officer’s updated recommendation to the Planning Committee continues to recommend approval of the applications. Click here for the report. Click here for the meeting agenda.
Update : 12th February 2016
Update: 5th February 2016
Following representations from the Save the Chequer Inn group and discussion at the 1st February monthly meeting, the parish council submitted a letter to DDC to supplement its consultee feedback. Click here for the letter.
Update: 20th January 2016
The planning application to convert the Chequers to a dwelling was dropped from the Jan 21st Planning Committee meeting agenda and will be rescheduled to a later date.
Update: 15 January 2016
The SaveTheChequerInn campaign has called a public meeting for Monday 18th January, 7.30pm at St Nicholas Church. Click here to view the poster advertising the meeting. Click here for the DDC Planning Officer’s recommendation to the Planning Committee
Update: 12 January 2016
DDC has notified the planning applications for the Chequer Inn’s conversion to a dwelling will be heard by DDC’s Planning Committee meeting on Thursday 21st January, commencing at 6pm. The meeting agenda for the 21st should be available online one week before the meeting date, at http://moderngov.dover.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeId=136
Ash resident, Matt Titterton, of the “Save the Chequer Inn” campaign advises a peaceful rally of supporters will be held outside the DDC council offices before the Planning Meeting. He has been allocated time to speak to the Committee meeting to present the campaign’s objections to the application and make a case for its refusal.
Update: 04 January 2016
The SaveTheChequerInn campaign has called a public meeting for Monday 5th January, 7.30pm at St Nicholas Church, Ash. Further developments will be presented including the submission to DDC of a community application to list the Chequer Inn as an Asset of Community Value, referral of planning application 15/00624 to the DDC Planning Committee after numerous objections were registered, and the status of the project involving the BBC. Click here to view the poster advertising the meeting.
Update: 11th December 2015
The developer’s application to build a dwelling on the land at the rear of the Chequer Inn was withdrawn. The planning application to convert the Inn to a dwelling is presently with Dover District Council for a decision.
The SaveTheChequerInn campaign has called a public meeting for Monday 14th December, 7.30pm at St Nicholas Church, Ash, to canvas local opinion as to whether there’s a will to “save this historical building from a house conversion and reclaim it back as a respectable, well managed community public house”. The meeting is organised by Ash resident Matt Titterton who states “…… there’s been contact from a national BBC journalist investigating why 29 pubs a week are closing, and has uncovered a lot of what the large Pub Companies and developers are doing. Additional to this, she is pitching another TV show, which for convenience reasons needs to be based in Kent. The idea is for a run-down pub to be bought by a community and turned around. This would be presented by Neil Stuke, a well-known TV actor who lives in Deal – a builder, chef and owns a share in a farm-shop. He knows the pub industry well, has a lot of contacts, and there has been some interest from a couple of local breweries. Jimmy from Jimmys Farm also wants to help highlight it. Hopefully the weight of a national broadcaster behind us could help sway the developer, and the media attention could also help lower renovation costs of the building.” Contact supporters at email@example.com . Click here to view the poster advertising the meeting
Update: 2nd November 2015
An amended planning application DOV15/00624 | Change of use and conversion to residential dwelling (Use Class C3) (existing lean-to walkway to be demolished) and erection of a garage | Chequer Inn, Chequer Lane, Ash, CT3 2ET has been notified. Too late to be considered at the parish council meeting that evening, it will be discussed and any submission determined when the full parish council meets on 16th November as the Finance Committee. Details can be found at http://planning.dover.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=DCAPR_226983&prevPage=inTray
No formal advice of decisions in respect of the earlier applications has been notified.
Update: 30th June 2015
Three planning applications have been listed on Dover District Council’s website in respect of the Chequer Inn.
1/ DOV/15/00624 | Change of use and conversion to residential dwelling (Use Class C3) (existing lean-to walkway to be demolished) | Chequer Inn, Chequer Lane, Ash, CT3 2ET. Details can be found at http://planning.dover.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=DCAPR_226983
2/ DOV/ 15/00625 | Internal and external alterations to facilitate conversion into residential dwelling (existing lean-to walkway to be demolished) | Chequer Inn, Chequer Lane, Ash, CT3 2ET. Details can be found at http://planning.dover.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=DCAPR_226984
3/ DOV/15/00622 | Erection of a detached dwelling and garage | Land r/o Chequer Inn, Chequer Lane, Ash, CT3 2ET . Details can be found at http://planning.dover.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=DCAPR_226973
Update: 22nd June 2015
Whilst the appeal decision is final, it is possible to apply afresh for community asset status. For this to have any chance of success, a business plan/proposal would need to accompany the application showing that the community could be in a position within the next 5 years to purchase and develop the Chequer Inn for community use, whether that be a public house or some other community focused enterprise. If any groups are in a position to do this, or wish to gather support for a community project for the Chequer Inn, please let a parish councillor know.
The listing and delisting information (with reasons) for the Chequer Inn can be found at http://www.dover.gov.uk/Planning/Assets-of-Community-Value/Assets-Community-Value-Dover-District.aspx. Note that Wingham Parish Council has succeeded in May with having the Red Lion Inn listed as a community asset. It is not the last pub in Wingham village. Their application included a business proposition from a local community group and “satisfied the test set out in section 88(2)(b) of the Act, in that it is realistic to think that there is a time in the next five years when there could be a non-ancillary use of the building or other land that would further (whether or not in the same way as before) the social wellbeing or social interests of the local community”.
Update: 20th March 2015
The Parish Council has today received advice from Dover District Council that the owner of the Chequer Inn had successfully appealed the listing of the Chequer Inn, and this was now no longer to be registered on DDC’s list of Community Assets.
The appeal process included a hearing to which Ash Parish Council was not invited nor was made aware of it taking place. This is in accordance with the law. The ruling states the decision is final and no further appeal is possible. Click here for a copy of the DDC advice document.
On 9th January, 2015 Dover District Council advised Ash Parish Council that the Chequer Inn, in the centre of Ash village, had been listed as a Community Asset. You can find information about Assets of Community Value and the listing itself at http://www.dover.gov.uk/Planning/Assets-of-Community-Value/Home.aspx and http://www.dover.gov.uk/Planning/Assets-of-Community-Value/AssetsofCommnunityValueinDoverDistrict.aspx respectively.
What does this mean?
Essentially the Community Asset status, which lasts for 5 years, provides for the community to have some preferential options, similar to a first refusal on the property, for a finite period, should it be placed on the market for sale.
The owner of the Chequer Inn must notify DDC when they intend to dispose of it. This is when the opportunity for the community to purchase the asset can be set in motion. The sale itself would take place under normal market conditions, and at a fair market price.
A purchase of the property at the market price might be funded by various means including an interest bearing public works loan, a loan from a community Trust, a community shares scheme whereby a number of people each contribute a sum of £s.
Note there are defined time constraints that will affect whether a community purchase of the property might be successful.
1/ Community groups have six weeks following a notice of disposal to apply to be treated as potential bidders.
2. If a written intention to bid is received within the six weeks, the group will be given six months to raise the finance and prepare a bid to purchase the asset before it goes on the open market.
Be aware, whilst the community group is given an opportunity to submit a bid, the owner is not bound to accept it.
In the latter part of 2014, the Chequer Inn was on the market for sale, offered as a residence subject to planning permission but was subsequently withdrawn from active marketing. It is not known whether it will be offered for sale again, and if so, when. It is advisable to be prepared for this eventuality given the bidding time frames outlined by DDC.
If you have ideas for utilising the Chequer Inn as a community asset, and would like to discuss these ideas with other like minded persons, please contact the parish clerk who, with your permission, will put you in touch with others who have also left their contact details. In this way the parish council hopes to facilitate taking ideas for the Chequer Inn further. The clerk can be contacted by phone 01304 814 036 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org,uk
NB: Any community bid proposal would require a commitment from the wider population to support the project, given it would be likely to have consequent impacts on the precept over a period of years. However this does not preclude a smaller consortium of persons with adequate financing taking on a project to restore the pub or convert it to some other type of business and/or venue that could play a central part in community life.