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

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.

First Video Tour of Chequer Inn

Here is a short video documenting our first visit around The Chequer Inn after we bought the pub at the end of April. A lot of work is needed to be done, and already volunteers are coming forward to help.

If you would like to Volunteer to help, then please contact us via our form HERE

Community in Ash buy The Chequer Inn after village campaign – KM Article

Community in Ash buy The Chequer Inn after village campaign – KM Article

Kent Messenger article By Eleanor Perkins 20th April 2018

The people of Ash are now the proud owners of The Chequer Inn following a two-year enterprise to raise £400,000.

Residents, desperate to stop their village pub from being turned into housing, raised the cash through shareholders, investors, a grant and a loan.

With the assistance of solicitors, the sale has now been completed and residents received the keys last week.

Matthew Titterton, who originally began the campaign in December 2015, said: “We are all very excited and can’t believe that this day has finally arrived. It’s fantastic to know that this wonderful historic pub which has been the heart of the community for hundreds of years will now re-open. This time there will be no national pub company owning it, but instead a community passionate for it to succeed. We have more than 300 shareholders who are determined to make a success of it, and with the right tenant, we really hope that it will be a community pub to be proud of.”

Applications for shares came from around the world including Alaska, Australia, North Carolina, Scotland and Yorkshire.

Work now begins on refurbishment of the property and a search for a suitable tenant.

Jane Greaves, secretary of The Chequer Inn Ash Society, said: “It’s all very exciting. “The committee has a number of working parties to get the pub up and running. We are hoping to have an open day for shareholders in a few weeks, but as it is currently a building site. We have a health and safety team on board so that we can do things properly. We have a very ambitious project plan and we hope to be open by the autumn.”

Working parties have since been established to help with the next stage of the Save the Chequer Inn project. They are looking for volunteers who can clear rubbish, clear the garden, make refreshments and do decorating and general D.I.Y.

Ms Greaves added: “There will be additional tasks which will need to be undertaken by skilled tradespeople – so if you are a plasterer, tiler, electrician, carpenter, interior designer and could spare us a few hours of your time and expertise at reduced or ideally zero cost that would be very much appreciated.”

The project received a £50,000 grant and a £50,000 loan from the Plunkett Foundation. Executive director James Alcock said: “We’re so pleased to be able to support The Chequer Inn who are working hard to make sure their community can benefit from everything that having a thriving local pub brings. Pubs that are owned and run by the community are so much more than a place to buy a drink; they provide important social spaces and services for local people, and are central to their community’s sense of place and identity.”

It comes as new homes are planned around the village as identified by Dover District Council’s Local Development Framework.

BBC Radio Kent talks to Chequer Inn Society on BUYING the village pub

Jane Greaves from The Chequer Inn Ash Society spoke live on BBC Radio Kent to John Warnett and Anna Cookson on how the village of Ash successfully bought the village pub for the community. We are now in the process of refurbishment. Let us know how you could help us prepare the pub for its reopening with the link in the video. We hope to be open late autumn. Thanks to everyone who has been with us on this incredible journey to get this far.