I saw a recent Facebook post saying Courage brewery refused to sell a section of the building decades ago for a similar scheme. Shame they couldn’t just have the bit on the left, leaving the rest to return to a pub. But that will never happen.
Used to live just up the road from there. Only went in the Fountain once - not impressed. None of the pubs in that area were much cop.
Interesting how Hermitage Lane has changed over the years. It used to be a proper country lane, with no street lights for most of its lengths (or footpaths in the Hermitage 'cutting' bit!), and a hump-backed bridge over the railway. When I worked in London, I had to walk from Barming station - which was not fun in the winter... Driving to work wasn't much fun either, with no traffic lights at the London Road end.
Last time I was up that way, I couldn't believe how much that road had changed - widened, footpaths all the way, streetlights, new railway bridge, lights at both ends... And bloody houses everywhere!
Talking of the Hermitage, Graham Chapman used to live there. I stood behind him at Barming Station once... (Buying a ticket, not for any other reason.)