Tuesday, May 21st, 2024

Weald residents ponder the future of The Windmill – the last remaining pub in a village

Weald village is applying to Sevenoaks District Council to have The Windmill pub by The Green listed as an Asset of Community Value after taking advice from Dr Simon Scott from CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale).

The plan was agreed at a recent packed Parish Council meeting where the future of Weald’s last remaining pub was discussed.

Residents in Tonbridge used a similar application to save The Nelson Arms where coincidentally Matthew Rudd and Emma Cole, the former landlords of The Windmill,  moved on to.

If the application is granted, it will give villagers a six month ‘window of opportunity’ to come up with a workable solution to maintain The Windmill as a going concern.

At one time Weald village boasted seven pubs. The Blue Anchor on Philpott’s Lane closed in 1953 and became a private house. This was followed in the 1960s when The Plough on Church Road was sold. The construction of the A21 by pass in 1968 saw the demise of The Queen’s Head which was in the middle of what is now Morley’s roundabout.

Scabharbour Road had two pubs, The Harvest Home which closed its doors in 1970, and The Chequer Tree which ceased trading in 1994. The Prince of Wales, which featured the famous leg through the ceiling above the bar, was sold in 1998 and became Edwards Brasserie before later being transformed into the Italian restaurant Giacomos.

With just The Windmill remaining, the village breathed a huge sigh of relief when a few years ago it was sold as a going concern by the brewery to Matt and Emma who, with vision and a lot of hard work, transformed it into an award winning pub selling local ales and fine food (in 2015, The Windmill was one of the four national finalists for ‘CAMRA’s Pub of the Year).

There was a great deal of concern among residents when the duo decided to move on and The Windmill was again put up for sale but it was purchased in late 2017 and remained as a pub. However, it was recently put on the market raising more anxieties in the village about its future.

CHRISTMAS SHOW: The Weald Horticultural Society Christmas Show is on Saturday (7 December) in the Memorial Hall and doors open at 3pm. The Christmas show is considerably different from the other three Society shows during the year and most entries in the flower arranging categories encourage not only the use of fresh material but, also, the use of accessories and artificial materials of any type. Cooking is also a feature of Weald’s Horticultural Shows and Christmas is no exception. Photography also has a place at the show and, this year, the committee decided to ask people to submit three photographs of close up views of flowers and/or three photographs of animals, birds or insects in the garden. To demonstrate other talent in the village, the show has another two categories for handicraft. Children are not forgotten and there are two sections – one for children 8 to 12 years old and the other for children under 8 years. Both groups have been asked to make a Christmas creation.

WHAT’S IN STORE?: Early Christmas stock has arrived at the Weald Community Shop and more is on the way. Make sure you visit regularly to see what’s new. Fresh bread is also delivered daily from Rushbridge’s bakery in Southborough or, pick up a ‘bake-your-own’ French baguette. A good selection of locally-grown Christmas trees is also available. The shop is not taking orders this year, so customers are encouraged to get one while stocks last. They cost £5 per foot.

As in previous years the shop will be making up boxes of fruit, vegetables, deli and other items for Christmas orders. Order forms are available in the shop. During the festive holiday season the shop will open 8.30am to noon every day except Sundays when it is open 9am – 11am. It will be shut on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

FILM MAKERS: The Revd Mandy Carr and St George’s Church congregation members Elizabeth Miller, Julia Baber and Julia Dowling, have been busy over the past few months creating a film with a group of young people or, to be more accurate, the young people have been creating a film with the help and support of the adults.

The script for the film, with a working title of ‘This Way Up,’ was written by Elizabeth and Revd Mandy based on the young people’s ideas about a contemporary context of the Christmas story. Twelve youngsters belonging to the St George’s Film Club have been involved in all the various aspects of film making, both in front of and behind the camera. They have had workshops on props, costumes, make-up and location; sound and soundtrack; filming, lighting and directing; and editing. The group has been supported in this process through Into Film (www.intofi lm.org ) which has provided guides and short films on each part of the film making process.

The finished film will be shown at the ‘Christingle’ service on Christmas Eve – 4pm in St George’s Church. As well as the retelling of the Nativity Story, another short film, four and a half minutes long, has been made about the making of the film which is going to be included in the application for a grant for filming equipment from the Diocesan Children and Young People’s Fund.

CRAFT SALE: Susan Gidman, who compiles the Weald Village News is aiming to reach a personal charity fundraising goal with her mother this month. Here is her story:

“As most of you will know by now, I regularly visit my 94-year-old mum in her care home and, as well as enjoying reading Roald Dahl’s entertaining poems, we are often up to our eyeballs in ‘crafting’ items. We sell them to support Alzheimer charities, as well as ‘Send a Child to Hucklow’ which gives inner city children the opportunity to have a holiday in the Dales, and Mercy Ships which was chosen by WOW (Women in Weald) to be its chosen charity this year.

“Mum loves to feel that her life still has meaning and I’m proud to say that, so far, we have raised just over £900. To try and reach our £1,000 target I’m holding a sale at my home, ‘Willows’, Windmill Road, on Saturday 14 December between 10.30am and 2.30pm. (You might have to wake me up as I will have been working overnight at the Election Count on Thursday evening!).

“I have some old favourites for sale (cup-cake socks; note-book and pen sets; village greeting cards ) as well a some newer editions to the list  such as fully-lined shopping bags; face flannel, soap and toiletry sets and other bits and pieces. Please come and browse have a coffee and a chat – I promise you will not be hassled to buy (but I might ask you to do some gardening – JUST JOKING!).”

CHRISTMAS DIARY:  Weald School is holding its annual Christmas Fayre on Saturday (7 December) between 12.30pm and 3pm.

Also on Saturday (7 December), The Windmill Pub is hosting ‘ Big Jim’s Christmas Quiz & Christmas Jumper competition’ There is a £1 entry fee and a half time curry and rice available for £6.50.

More dates for your diary:

Monday 9 December: CAMEO Cakes and Carols in the Church Hall.

Friday 13 December: ‘Teddy’s’ Christmas special (for mothers/carers with

babies and toddlers) in the Church Rooms from 9.15am – 10.45am

Saturday 14 December: Christmas wreath workshop at Riverhill Gardens with Carol Bain 9.30am -1.30pm.

Sunday 15 December: Christmas wreath workshop at Riverhill Gardens with Carol Bain 9.30am -1.30pm.

Wednesday 18 December: Weald Parish Council meeting in the Memorial Hall

at 7pm (please note change of time)

Children break up from school for the Christmas holidays

Sunday 22 December: Carol Service at St George’s Church.

The Weald Village news is compiled by Susan Gidman. If you have any news or events you would like her to consider for the village column you can call her on 01732 454222 or email: newwealdnews@outlook.com




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