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Do something about this now

This petition calls for an urgent solution to the problem of the Bun Penny eyesore

WE DEMAND action on the burnt-out Bun Penny.

ACTION: Nigel Hancock is calling on the council to sort out the Bun Penny pub
ACTION: Nigel Hancock is calling on the council to sort out the Bun Penny pub

That is the message behind a new petition set up to urge council bosses to do something to tackle the eyesore of the former pub on Herne Bay seafront. It has been left to rot since it was gutted by fire in September 2011 – despite councillors insisting in July 2012 It was “a priority”. Now, business leader Nigel Hancock, of the Bay Independent Retail Group, has set up the petition calling on Canterbury City Council to tidy up the site before summer. Mr Hancock, who runs a web design and internet marketing company, said:

“The pub has been a hideous and unsightly landmark ever since the fire. It is a dangerous shell of a building and there have already been reports of children getting inside. It is off-putting to visitors and residents alike and negates much of the good work done by the council and local voluntary groups to promote Herne Bay. It has been left for too long. The site needs to be sorted out before next summer, when we will all be doing our best to attract people to the town centre. The pub is a very unfavourable first impression.”

Discussions between councillors, officers and the pub’s owners have been going on since the fire, but no agreement on action has ever been made. The owners, who invested £50,000 renovating the building before it went up in flames, had previously said they wanted to rebuild it, but admitted they were underinsured. Neither the owner nor the former manager responded to our requests for a comment. Mr Hancock added:

“Canterbury City Council has a number of remedial powers they can call upon in these situations but has, so far, visibly failed to act upon any of them. That needs to change. How would you feel as a first time visitor to Herne Bay if the first sight that greeted you was the burnt-out shell of the Bun Penny? Our town deserves better.”

But council spokesman Rob Davies said officials were doing all they could. He said:

“The council served a notice just before Christmas requiring the owner to make the property secure, after a report that children were seen on the premises. The owners arranged this work promptly and an inspection last week revealed this was still the case. Longer term, we will be contacting the owners to find out their plans for the future of the site.”

• To sign the petition, visit http://thebay.org.uk/bunpenny/ or find the e-petition on Canterbury City Council’s website.

Herne Bay Times, January 30th 2014

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