The Chequer Inn Ash Society would like to announce that we have signed a lease with a new tenant and work is beginning in preparation for opening in July.
We are glad to be working with our new tenants Janet and Craig Payten, and looking forward to introducing them to the community over the next few weeks. They have had extensive pub experience locally and we feel that they will offer exactly what our community needs. We have passed on all the feedback from recent surveys and questionnaires, and they are gearing up ready for a busy summer.
Jan has managed pubs in her native Liverpool area since the early 90’s. Receiving training from the likes of Greenalls and Whitbread breweries. Branching out, Jan made her mark in Cape Town, managing high end establishments. On returning to the UK, Jan opened the Duke William in Ickham as the general manager, where all operating targets were exceeded within 3 months of opening. This was due to her passion for service excellence, commitment to providing a consistently high standard of food and beverages, and proactively engaging the local community. The Duke William quickly became the centre of the Ickham community. Jan has recently been integral to the fast growth of the Red Lion in Hernhill, Faversham, where she is a key member of the front of house team.
Craig is an experienced senior operator at both family orientated and high-end restaurants and pub outlets. Craig will support Jan across the breadth of the Chequer Inn business, with emphasis on management controls, and food operations. He will employ a full time professional kitchen team, ensuring a seasonal offer of a high quality, serviced in a friendly and relaxed, but professional manner. Craig will use evenings and weekends to engage with the community and Chequer Inn clientele, whilst ensuring standards are met and improvements are made where identified.
They say “We give our commitment to the CIAS and broader Ash community to be partners in achieving the objectives of the CIAS and Chequer Inn shareholders, through the operations of the Chequer Inn. We also acknowledge that it will take some time to deliver the Chequer Inn vision, as this will not be achievable overnight, so many ongoing improvements to the bar, dining and garden area will be done over time. This approach will allow regular customers to live the journey with us, and enjoy new and improved elements to the Chequer Inn as they are able to be made. We want a Chequer Inn that is welcoming to all, meets the community’s needs, and is the place where the community comes to engage, friends meet regularly, and celebrations can be had in an environment that is both relaxed and professional.”
Final work and refurbishment will be undertaken at the pub to make sure many facilities are in place prior to opening. There are also a small number of vacancies open for Head Chef, commis chef, apprentice chef and a Front Of House team member. Our tenants would prefer to employ from the immediate area, which is part of their strategy and linked to the CIAS strategy of skills development in the village. Anyone interested should visit www.indeedjobs.com/jade-376b5ba
We would like to formally introduce our new tenants to our shareholders first at a shareholder’s event in the next few weeks (shareholders will be emailed), and will announce our official July opening date in due course.
Thanks to funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, The Chequer Inn community pub in Ash has been awarded £10,000 to improve access.
Chair Jon Scatchard says “This project has re-energised social relationships and brought people together to save this prominent central facility, which has been lost for several years. The space now needs improvement to enable access to the Pub from across the community. Currently some areas of the Pub are accessible by those with mobility problems, for example the garden, but those with disabilities are known to avoid venues like ours with poor access and inadequate facilities. Now, as a community owned Pub, we are determined to provide a welcoming, inclusive approach to the building, inside and out to enable access by the whole community to the range of activities planned. The success of the project depends on community inclusion.”
The grant will allow provision of a disability unisex toilet in the Chequer Inn, as the existing male and female facilities do not achieve satisfactory spaces for wheelchair access. The location of the proposed new W.C. is beneath the existing shallow roof of the modern walkway.
Secretary Jane Greaves says “This proposal compliments other disability access projects within the building, which have been coordinated by our volunteers and members, for example; widened opening to the dining area, readjustment of internal steps, and the planned widened door access and ramp from the parking area. Property maintenance was limited by previous owners / pub companies and WC facilities had not been upgraded to an acceptable standard. Disabled access and facilities such as this new WC have been considered as a priority for our refurbishment, to give a clear message to the community – that we take their needs seriously and we wish to make the pub facilities accessible to all. We have successfully been granted Listed Building consent and Council planning permission, having worked closely with the Heritage Officer and volunteer architect, who is a Society member.”
The pub is hoping to relaunch in the summer.
A very productive day spent decorating the bar and dining room area yesterday getting ready for our tenant Open Day later this month. The search for a tenant continues – so please let anyone know that may be interested in running our beautiful community pub!
Three years ago today saw our wonderful victory at Dover District Council when Councillors voted to prevent the house conversion in favour of locals purchasing the pub.
Since then, our Society commenced a journey to develop a sound business plan and strategy calendar, to raise the necessary funds to purchase the pub, and to restore it to its original function and standing in the community. Three years on we are very proud to have achieved this, and we look forward in finding a tenant soon.