The latest chapter in the long and colourful tale of the Blue Boys Inn at Kippings Cross, Matfield, appears to be winding to its conclusion.
After any number of planning applications, proposals and exchanges of views about its future, the Grade II-listed building is being transformed into a Burger King take-away.
Whatever your views on such an outcome, it does at least mean the inn’s dilapidated state is being addressed, even if the demolition of its oldest part cannot be reversed and some aspects of the redevelopment are less than satisfactory.
At one point, demolition of the entire inn was on the table, but now the new outlet will be built into the remaining structure, ensuring some element of its historical significance.
CPRE Kent’s Tunbridge Wells and historic buildings committees had been watching, with growing concern, the situation unfold, last year writing to the chief executive of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council in a bid to halt the building’s decline.
You can read about this here and here, but Lady Akenhead, chairman of the Tunbridge Wells CPRE committee, brings us up to date with proceedings.
“Both the Tunbridge Wells and historic buildings committees objected to the details of recent applications connected with the approved plan to turn the Blue Boys into a fast-food take-away, now to be occupied by Burger King,” she said.
“Following our objections, some amended details were submitted that satisfied the council’s conservation officer regarding the listed building and advertisement applications.
“Some of the applications still await approval, presumably while the applicant seeks a solution that will satisfy the council concerning the various points raised.
“Meanwhile, construction of the extension to the Blue Boys continues apace, although the details concerning contamination and landscaping whose approval was required prior to commencement of the development under the planning permissions granted in 2016 have not yet been approved!
“The planning officer records having visited the site on three occasions in September and October this year but appears to have made no effort to enforce the landscaping condition, merely appending it again to the delegated approval he has granted for the recent listed-building application.”
Not wholly desirable, by any stretch, but the fact the Blue Boys Inn still exists at all (even if as a burger joint) is thanks in to small part to the work of CPRE Kent’s Tunbridge Wells and historic buildings committees. Well done!
Monday, November 19, 2018