New Owners of The Ship in Darenth Set to Revive Historic Pub with Exciting Plans for Future

New Owners of The Ship in Darenth Share Exciting Plans for Future of Historic Pub

The future of The Ship in Darenth is looking bright as new owners, Jeff and Sue Smith, reveal their plans for the historic pub following the approval of their micropub and homes scheme.

The couple, who bought The Ship in December 2021 after it closed its doors in August of that same year, have drawn up plans to partially redevelop the 16th-century pub into a micropub and build two, five-bed homes on the property.

After three Dartford council planning committee meetings, members decided to go against their officers’ recommendations for refusal and approve the proposals. The Smiths are now eager to bring the derelict pub “back to its former glory” and provide much-needed homes and employment for the community.

Sue Smith expressed her relief and excitement, stating, “It has been a long and challenging process but it was all for our family and its future. We are truly invested in this project for the long term and hope to do the right thing by bringing this derelict building back to life for the community while providing much-needed homes and employment.”

The couple, who have over 34 years of experience in the hospitality industry, will be working behind the bar with their sons Sam and Joe once the renovations are complete. The family, from Meopham, used to run an events catering firm but had to give it up due to ill health and other family commitments.

The scheme for The Ship was first submitted to Dartford council in January 2023 by the Smiths’ private company Llamedos Properties. The development will see two extensions built on the pub, seven outbuildings demolished, and a new single-storey extension added for a garden room. The upper floor will also be converted into two one-bedroom flats.

The company also has permission to build two five-bed houses with basements, but the plots of land are being sold to fund the pub refurbishments. Nearby businesses have shown support for the redevelopment, citing concerns of fly-tipping and anti-social behavior on the site.

Although council officers recommended the scheme be refused, citing harm to the openness of the green belt, the application was approved at a third planning meeting on March 14. The council determined that there were “very special circumstances” to justify the green light.

Llamedos Properties’ planning consultant Graham Simpkin Planning said it was unusual to receive 100% support from residents, businesses, landowners, and the parish council. He expressed gratitude to the councillors for recognizing the benefits of the development and going against the officer’s recommendations.

The Smiths are now looking forward to welcoming their first customers in autumn this year. For more updates on the progress of The Ship’s transformation, visit the planning applications and public notices section of your local news source.

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