Gillingham café plans expansion for more restaurant and community use

PLANS to expand a landmark Gillingham café to offer evening meals alongside conference and community facilities have been submitted.

The scheme would see changes made at The Old Brewery Café and Kitchen, in Wyke Road, and have been submitted on behalf of the Chedington Court Estate Ltd.

Formerly a motorcycle dealership and café, the premises were taken over by the estate after the closure of Moto Corso in July last year.

Since then, it has thrived as The Old Brewery Café, which is now seeking to expand the restaurant offering into the evenings, as well as providing conference and community facilities.

The application asks for an extension to opening hours until 11pm from Monday to Saturday, and until 4pm on Sundays and bank holidays.

A manager of the site said in the application: “The café at The Old Brewery building has proved to be very popular with local people of all ages and backgrounds, not only retired residents who come to enjoy the peaceful gardens, but also cyclists, hikers and dog walkers stopping for refuelling.”

The cafe features a display of vintage motorcycles, as well as a gallery

The cafe features a display of vintage motorcycles, as well as a gallery

Thanks to the success of the venture, the estate is now seeking to expand the offering, the manager said, saying it was the ‘perfect opportunity’ to repurpose some of the ‘quirky’ building.

“We propose to open two of our first-floor areas as meeting rooms, available as provate-hire facilities for business meetings, training days or functions, with options to be fully catered for breakfast/lunch or buffet, or just coffee and biscuits if preferred,” they went on.

“In addition, we have already started the rebranding process to expand from just a cafe to also encompassing a range of evening menus, attractive to local families or couples looking for somewhere to eat without a huge price tag.”

And they said despite the 11pm closing time in the application, the venue would not necessarily be open all hours.

“This change to the permission does not mean we will choose to open every possible hour,” the manager added.

“But it would mean we would have the flexibility to meet the needs of those local residents who are currently significantly limited in choice of venues providing community space for hire in Gillingham and the surrounding areas.

“We, in return, are good neighbours who look after our trees and property within the conservation area and are proud to say we are lucky enough to work in such a lovely part of Gillingham.”

Jobs could be created by the expansion, the plan said, as work in the kitchens increased.
For more information on the plans, and to comment, log on to and search for application reference P/FUL/2023/02773.

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I am the editor in chief of Blackmore Vale media, which includes the New Blackmore Vale, New Stour & Avon, Salisbury & Avon Gazette and the Purbeck Gazette, having been a reporter for some 20 years. In my spare time, I am a festival lover, with a particular focus on Glastonbury. I live in Somerset with my wife and two children.