‘Bland’ micropub plans for high street inn slammed

A decision on the future of a “key corner” pub on the Isle of Sheppey has been delayed as councilors criticized the new design for apartments.

The Old House at Home at the end of Sheerness High Street has been serving pints since the 1860s.

Old House at Home pub in Sheerness before closing

But after a turbulent period, which saw five landlords for 10 years, the pub closed its doors for the last time in 2020.

It has been dormant since then and plans to rebuild the site were submitted last year by Mr M McAllister.

The plans included demolishing the pub and replacing it with a three- and four-storey residential building, including seven apartments and a micro-pub on the ground floor.

Any concerns about antisocial behavior from the micropub were downplayed by planning officials, who said they “tend to have less noise and impact” than regular pubs.

Despite its Victorian history and location on Sheerness High Street, the pub is not historically listed or in any conservation area.

Plans for the former Old House at Home pub on Sheerness High Street
Plans for the former Old House at Home pub on Sheerness High Street

But when they debated the new apartments on Thursday, the Swale councils were concerned about the design of the replacement apartments.

Cllr Oliver Eakin (Swale) said: “It’s at the entrance to the main street so the design is quite important.

“The design is completely different from what is there now. The original building is of good design and has in itself a historical significance.

“But over time, some of the more modern parts are not good, and to be honest, I’m not sure which historical parts are likely to be saved.

“The design is a bit boring, it will not win any awards, will it?”

Clive Emson sold the Old House at Home pub on Sheerness High Street
Clive Emson sold the Old House at Home pub on Sheerness High Street

At the same time, Cllr Monique Bonnie (Independent) went further and suggested that the procedure be postponed until a better design was on the table: “I know this end of the main street quite well.

“I really do not like the design and I will be radical, I will go so far as to propose a postponement.

– I have no problem with the development principle here, nor to have a micropub or residential apartments. I have a problem with that design.

“This is a basic corner of our main street for me, and if we do not get that design right, we will undermine the rest of the main street.

“I think it looks a bit cheap honestly, it’s very bland. There’s some repetition along the main street with its historic buildings, I think something more imaginative could be done.”

Eventually, council members voted to postpone the plans by 13 for and one against.

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