Dartford family opens third local pub in spite of lockdown

A Dartford family will open their third pub in the town tomorrow (October 9) following a £260,000 revamp carried out in spite of the pandemic.

Three generations of the same family will be involved in running The Plough in Wilmington when it opens its doors on Friday.

David and Dilys Clack have paired with their daughter and son-in-law, Nicola and Chris Tume, and the Clack’s two grandchildren Billy (20) and Freddy (18) to invest in a £260,000 refurbishment of The Plough at Wilmington.

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The project, in conjunction with Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars, will hopefully see the previously dated pub become a local classic serving freshly prepared home-cooked food.

The opening was originally scheduled for the May Bank Holiday, but was delayed by disruption to building work caused by lockdown.

The refurbishment of the Wilmington venue has also created a further 15 jobs in what is a hattrick for the family.

David and Dilys currently also operate The Dart on Chastilian Road and top-rated Trip Advisor pub The Chequers in Darenth.

Daughter Nicola is taking the centre stage at The Plough as its new licensee, and says it is a “dream come true to own a pub of my own.”

“I jumped at the chance to take on The Plough.

“It’s a beautiful building with bags of character but was in need of TLC and investment to give customers the comfort and quality they deserve.

“It looks amazing now, and we can’t wait to show people their new-look local.”

Nicola explained: “I’ve worked with my parents since I was a teenager. It’s fantastic to have their support at The Plough and to be keeping up a family tradition by having my children involved, too.”

The family say they’ve tried to retain the pub’s traditional feel whilst making it more contemporary, with a new dining area comfortably accommodating 40 people, as well as a bar fitted with big screens and Sky & BT Sport.

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But original features such as the old wooden bar, beams and fireplace have just been restored, whilst a new kitchen and bathroom have also been restored.

And with social distancing in mind, The Plough’s large garden has been smartened and can sit 84 people.

The family has put a host of safety measures in place to keep customers and staff safe, and customers will be greeted at the door and shown to their tables, which will be sanitised between each use.

A second phase of work is planned for the winter to further develop the outside space and install covered sections.

Nicola added: “At difficult times like this, a good local is more important than ever to the community it serves.

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“People are travelling less and working from home more, so we want to give them a great pub they can enjoy on their doorsteps.

“Residents have been incredibly supportive of the refurbishment, and we can’t thank them enough for all their good wishes and positive comments.

“The Plough has been closed for more than six months now and they’re desperate for it to re-open. We’re excited to be finally opening and look forward to welcoming them back.”

Dugald Macer, Star Pubs & Bars operations director for Kent, commented: “Nicola and her family have a great track record of creating outstanding pubs in Dartford.

“They’ve got brilliant local knowledge and understand what residents want. Under their stewardship, The Plough looks set to be another asset for the area. We wish them all the best!”

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