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Quick action and a concerted team effort has kept the Hatch pub in Redhill, Surrey, open for business despite a lorry collision that caused £30,000 damage to the popular community pub.
The Hatch was back serving regulars within a few hours, and will be going ahead with a high profile charity event to mark Battle of Britain Day on September 15.
Licensee Roy Peacock was in his flat upstairs at 8.30 am on Friday, August 31 when the large articulated lorry crashed into a wall at the side of the pub, destroying the pool room and laying waste to the pub garden.
Roy, who has been the tenant of the Shepherd Neame pub for three years, said: “The lorry hit the kerb on the opposite side of the road, and then hit the corner of a van before colliding with wall of the pub. The first bang must have been when he hit the kerb, and the second the impact with the building.
“If it had hit the pub a few feet further back, the area demolished would have been much greater. We were lucky that no one was hurt, as the road is normally very busy at that time.”
Roy put in an emergency call to Shepherd Neame’s tenancy support team, and within the hour, the Faversham brewer’s property and maintenance team had sprung into action. “It was a little strange to phone the brewery and say “I have to report a lorry parked in my pub,” but I’m pleased to say their response was immediate,” added Roy.
Arrangements were made to remove the lorry, shore up the damaged wall and rope off the garden. Emergency repairs were also made to the pub’s power and water supplies, which had been cut off by the collision.
Geoff Baker, business development manager for the Hatch, said: “By mid-morning when I arrived at the pub, there was an emergency vehicle there to tow away the lorry and repairs were underway. By 6.30pm that evening, the pub was open for business.
“This was a real team effort, with Shepherd Neame’s specialist tenancy support there to back up a great licensee and his staff, who worked extremely hard to make sure the Hatch was serving customers the same day.”
Roy said: “Our regulars are delighted that the pub has stayed open for business, and everyone’s looking forward to our Battle of Britain Day celebration.” The event on September 15 includes an aircraft fuselage pull through the town, ending at the Hatch, a range of family activities and, of course, a toast to ‘the Few’ with Spitfire ale.
George Barnes, Shepherd Neame's property and tenanted trade director, said; “The Hatch will need extensive repairs, and one of the advantages of a tenancy agreement is that the structure of the pub is our responsibility as the freehold owner. It leaves the licensee free to focus on getting his business up and running, while we deal with both the insurance issues and the rebuilding programme.”