Local pub users and the Herne Bay Conservative team have come together to protect the much-loved Ship Inn on Herne Bay’s seafront, after it recently closed its doors.
This historic pub – the oldest in Herne Bay, dating back hundreds of years – is a popular and iconic landmark over-looking the beach, but had not recovered from the pandemic lockdowns and was closed by its owners Stonegate (formerly Enterprise Inns) last month. Locals fear that the pub may suffer the same fate as other pubs in recent years, being converted into flats and lost to the community.
Dan Watkins, an experienced pub campaigner and Kent County Councillor for Herne Bay East has formed a campaign group with David Thomas, Canterbury City Councillor for Heron ward in which the pub is located, alongside local residents Liz Harvey and Jane Thomas.
The group have collected signatures from supporters of the pub and applied this week to Canterbury City Council to have it listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). If successful, this will provide additional planning protection to make it harder for a developer to change its use and close its doors to the public permanently.
Last year Dan Watkins and local Conservative Party campaigners ran a similar campaign to protect the Rising Sun pub in Beltinge. The ACV was successfully granted, the threat to its future removed and the pub is now enjoying a renaissance under a new owner.
Dan Watkins, Kent County Councillor for Herne Bay East, commented:
“Ten years ago the Conservative government gave local communities the right to register community assets to give them additional planning protection. We have used the ACV status to retain other pubs in Herne Bay, so I hope we can do the same to restore The Ship to its former glory.”
David Thomas, Canterbury City Councillor for Heron Ward, said:
“We have very quickly been able to get several times the number of petitions needed to qualify for ACV status and I’m calling on council officers to recognise the amazing history of this pub and the community it serves to keep it as a pub.”