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Campaign to save 600-year-old pub in Foots Cray
L-R: Michele and Bill Walton, Gill and Haydn Stokes, Shelley Wood, Michael Stokes outside the Seven Stars pub in Foots Cray
A CAMPAIGN to save a 15th century pub in Foots Cray has been relaunched after an offer for the 600-year-old boozer was accepted.
The Seven Stars in Foots Cray High Street opened in the 1400s and is the village’s only surviving pub.
Its future has been in doubt since the pub’s management company, Punch Taverns, put the Grade II building up for sale in May 2011.
A campaign group was initially set up by concerned locals in February as a potential buyer prepared to apply for planning permission to transform it in to a residential home.
They pulled out but a new couple have had an offer accepted, subject to a surveyor’s report.
Landlord Michael Stokes, 54, told News Shopper: "It’s a local community pub - you won’t find many pubs like this around anymore.
"It’s just unfortunate there’s a lack of customers , but it’s just the way things are with the recession.
"In the old days it would be heaving between 12-2pm – they would be queuing out of the door "It was a good thriving pub then, we had a lot of office workers."
Mr Stokes and his wife Gillian, 47, bought the pub in 1988 before selling it to management company Punch Taverns in 2002.
The couple live above the historic pub, believed to be Sidcup’s oldest building, with their three children, Haydn, 15 Lauren, 17, and Zoe, 22.
Mr Stokes says is unsure of the prospective buyer’s plans but he is determined not to stand by and watch a repeat of what has happened to another historic pub less than a mile down the road.
The 300-year-old Black Horse pub in Sidcup High Street was demolished in 2011 to make way for an 84-bedroom Travelodge.
As News Shopper revealed last week the developer Hillingdon Developments has applied for planning permission to alter the historic pub’s facade.
He said: "We’d love to stay and return it to the thriving business it was before.
"My main concern is keeping it as a pub.
"It’s the only pub in the village – they used to be three."
Mr Stokes said the closure of a number of businesses in and around Foots Cray High Street over the last decade has contributed to a decline in trade.
"Since the credit crunch, people have been made redundant left, right and centre.
"Smoking ban, prices through pressure from the brewery haven’t helped.
"You can go to Wetherspoon’s and pay two pounds a pint or sometime, we can’t compete with those sorts of prices."
A campaign group called Save the Seven Stars Pub has been set up on Facebook.
Mr Stokes’ daughter Zoe told News Shopper: "It’s the oldest building in Sidcup, a lot of rich history, and in a pretty location.
"It’s a proper local pub, it always has been."
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