Saving The Chelsfield
Save the Chelsfield came about in October 2018 when we discovered that there were plans submitted for planning permission to demolish the existing 1930’s pub and build a block of flats with a small bar and supermarket in. The locals were outraged and the SaveTheChelsfield campaign started, originally on social media from three trusty regulars but then supported with a website to record the timeline of events and rally the support of everyone to oppose this dreadful plan.
Everyone who we could think may be able to help was roped in to support the campaign including the (then) MP Jo Johnson. There were over 1,000 objections submitted to the planning application which was a record amount ever received by the council! Our local councillors, CAMRA, celebrities on Twitter etc. were all roped in to help and the group attended the planning committee meeting in February 2019 where the application was refused on many more grounds than we could have hoped for. Punch and their legal team had already put the nose of the planning department out of joint by declaring that they always win both appeals and costs, so when this then went to the Planning Inspectorate there were also many objections submitted again, this time to the Planning Inspectorate. We were overjoyed to hear in June 2019 that this appeal was very firmly rejected and there was much celebration in the Chelsfield Pub that night! The costs application was also refused by the Planning Inspectorate so we were hopeful that this had put this plan off any future agenda that Punch may have.
The SaveTheChelsfield team then looked into further ways to protect the pub from further speculation and at the end of June 2019 the pub was awarded an Asset of Community Value (ACV) thus providing around five years of protection against development.
We thought that things may settle down then, but of course no-one could have predicted how a worldwide pandemic could affect everything and the pub had to follow national lockdown procedures by closing for most of 2020. Then when open again the locals learnt that the leaseholder Gladewood Taverns would not be getting a lease renewal, and news quickly followed in May 2021 that Punch would be taking over the management. The pub then closed for a refurbishment in mid July 2021 and we are eagerly anticipating seeing the results of this in the next few days when the pub opens again.
We will of course be sharing the experience with photos and eventually an updated 360 tour of the newly refurbished pub.
The full story of how the Chelsfield was saved from demolition is preserved on www.savethechelsfield.com and this website now starts the next chapter of The Chelsfield and hopefully will and we hope that we will not need to start campaigning again!