Sort file:- Herne, June, 2021.

Page Updated:- Tuesday, 01 June, 2021.


Earliest 2000

(Name from)

Scruffy Ducks

Closed June 2004

10 Williams Street

Herne Bay


The pub was originally called the "New Dolphin" but changed name for some reason in 1995.


From 7 October 2004.

Beautiful woman destroyed by heroin.

HER family's love and material assets were no match for the powerful drugs that slowly destroyed heroin addict Sarah Trenchard.

Her body was discovered by police in the derelict "Scruffy Ducks" pub in William Street, Herne Bay, close to her home in Bank Street.

Sarah TrenchardThe death of the 40-year-old is not being treated as suspicious. Her body was found last weekend.

How the life of a beautiful, privileged and talented young woman spiralled into a dark abyss of drug-taking has been described by her family who did their best to support her.

Mrs Trenchard's death follows that last year of her husband, the Rt Hon Henry Trenchard, great-grandson of Sir Hugh Trenchard, founder of the RAF.

Her brother Russell Saunders is anxious that her death is highlighted to deter other young people from ever starting to take drugs that could destroy their lives, and wants international government action to curb the flow of drugs into Britain.

Mr Saunders, who lives near Canterbury, spoke from the Foxhunter Caravan Park, Monkton. The family also owns Court Mount Mobile Home Park, Birchington, and Bluebell Woods at Broad Oak.

He said drugs "decimated Sarah's physical being and the world around her".

Mrs Trenchard was the youngest child of Colin and Monica Saunders and was born and brought up in Ightham, near Sevenoaks. She attended Ightham Primary School and then St Hilary's, a private school near Sevenoaks, which she left with three good A-levels.

Mrs Trenchard went on to Leicester University where she gained a 2:1 degree in English and had aspirations to become a journalist.

Mr Saunders, 44, said Sarah had been "quiet, gentle, very caring, intelligent and literate, she just loved books".

"University was the start of a Sarah's slow and gradual demise. It was her first time living away from home, and she got involved in heroin," he said.

"We didn't know anything about it at all. It was so alien to us as a family and nothing we had ever come across before."

He said she had been drawn further into the depths of drug abuse when she travelled to India in 1985. When she returned, her parents were starting to become gravely concerned.

She had gone to live in London and was in "deep, deep trouble." She went into rehabilitation twice but her condition continued to worsen. She was married in 1997, the year that her daughter was born.

She was unable to look after the little girl who was taken under the wing of her sister.

Mr Saunders stressed: "Sarah was at rock bottom. She stayed for a time in Margate and Ramsgate before coming to Herne Bay 18 months ago. We had bought some properties and put her in one of them.

"She had been mixing with such a crowd in Margate, we thought they might lose her scent.

"But it is such an evil spiral, all those involved, the addicts and dealers are rotten, awful people, they can spot each other a mile away and are drawn to each other like magnets.

"A couple of winters ago I was called to the hospital where she was on a life-support machine, her whole body had shut down, she had septicaemia, hepatitis A and hepatitis But the situation was just ongoing and awful.

"She had been an addict for 20 years. When news of her death came through, there was great sadness, but almost a sense of relief."

Neighbours in Bank Street had voiced their concerns to police about some of the visitors to Mrs Trenchard's home and associated disruption. One woman said she had looked "very bedraggled and vacant looking" when last seen.

An inquest will be held into the death. "Scruffy Ducks" closed down during last summer.


From 8 April, 2009.

Scruffy Ducks pub site to become Herne Bay car park.

THE derelict site of the old "Scruffy Ducks" pub in William Street, Herne Bay, will be concreted over and turned into a temporary car park.

The city council has struck a deal with the owner of the town centre eyesore and hopes to have the changes in place by July.

The car park will provide 50 spaces and could join up with the car park in Market Street.

Mike Thompson has owned the 1.2 million area since 1995 and was landlord of "Scruffy Ducks" until the pub closed four years ago.

Last May he was given planning permission to build a new pub, basement wine bar and 14 flats on the site – three years after submitting the application.

But he said the decision came "too little, too late" and he has been given no option but to ride out the recession with the car park plan.

He said: "If the council had made up their mind in the first place we wouldn't be in this predicament now.

"Four years ago I had eight banks offering me funding for the project, but no one is interested now.

"Investors aren't even looking at the site. No one's building at the minute.

"I can't see a break in the recession for at least three or four years.

"The money's not there and no one knows how long it's going to last. It's a case of how long's a piece of string?"

The city council will pay Mr Thompson 55,000 to construct the car park and hope to lease it from him for four years.

Mr Thompson said: "I don't mind whether it happens or not to be honest.

"But obviously it would be to the benefit of the town if the hoardings were taken down and there were more parking spaces.

"If we do go ahead with it I'll make sure there is a get-out clause in the contract.

"I don't want someone like Tesco saying they want to buy the site, only for me to say sorry, you'll have to wait four years. If everyone's willing to bend some trees a bit then it will happen."

City councillor Ron Flaherty said he was pleased with the decision.

He said: "It's a perfect temporary use for the site given its proximity to the seafront and the shops.

"It would accommodate both residents and visitors and offer a welcome alternative to what is there at present."


From  28 May, 2014.

PLANS for the future of the former Scruffy ducks site include a wine bar and shops.

And as this photo shows, although it is now used as a car park, the area has a strong tradition of housing hostelries.

The image, and its pair showing the scene today, are taken from Herne Bay Historical Records Society's book Herne Bay Then and Now.

The "New Dolphin" image dates from around 1890, but the pub first started in 1829 when it was bought by Margate brewers Cobb's.

It was purchased to house Ann White, who with her late husband had run the original Dolphin near the pier.

In the 1850s and 1860s it was the starting point for Tom Sayer's horse-bus to Canterbury and it was owned by the White family until about 1900.

In 2000 the pub became "Scruffy Ducks" but it closed in 2004. The roof and much of the inside was destroyed by fire in 2007 and it was flattened after negotiations with Canterbury City Council to be used as part of the Market Street car park.


From the By Jack Dyson, 25 March 2019.

Sainsbury's could open shop at Scruffy Ducks site in Herne Bay.

Sainsbury’s is among those who will be approached to launch a convenience store on the site of the former Scruffy Ducks pub.

Plans to convert the town-centre plot, which is now a car park, into 20 flats – spread across two four-storey blocks – parking and retail units were granted by Canterbury City Council this month.

The authority’s decision has brought to a close 14 years of speculation surrounding the long-term future of the prominent site.

Scruffy Duck's location 2019

Plans to turn the site of the former Scruffy Ducks pub into flats and shops have been sent to Canterbury City Council. Picture: Paul Amos.

And developer Bhajan Singh already has his sights set on attracting a convenience store to move into the shop space.

“I don’t have anyone interested yet because we’ve just had the application accepted,” he said.

“We have put the feelers out to see who wants to take it and we will be approaching Sainsbury’s Local.

“I want it to either be a convenience or clothes store – but I don’t know if that would work with New Look already gone from the town.

“At the moment the plans are for four units, but that can be turned into two or one.”

Mr Singh added he will also consider any independent stores interested in the space.

He estimates the flats, which will be built above the stores, will have a starting price of about 250,000.

Scruffy Duck plan 2019

Plans for the Scruffy Duck site in William Street. Pic: Clague Architects (7707348)

They’ll be of a good quality,” he insisted.

“The most expensive will be the penthouses, which are bigger and will have a sea view, and they’ll be for 500,000.”

The developer hopes to begin construction work on the site within six months once a deal is struck with the council to relocate the car park in the next three months.

In December, the owner of the land, Mike Thompson, accused the council of dragging its heels over plans which had been submitted in April.

He also claimed the scheme would be under threat if the council did not approve the plans before his contract with Mr Singh came to an end in February.

However, Mr Thompson says he managed to strike a new deal with Mr Singh.

Mike Thompson 2019

Developer Mike Thompson at the site. Picture: Paul Amos.

“I’m happy the application’s been granted, but it’s about time. It’s taken so long. The council said it’d be signed off in January and now it’s mid-March.

“This has cost Bhajan dearly. It’s not fair. I get bloody annoyed over this because you wouldn’t be able to act like this in business.”

The local authority previously blamed the delays on discrepancies over the amount of affordable housing proposed by the developer.

Responding to Mr Thompson’s criticisms, council spokesman Rob Davies said: “The planning process can, on some occasions, be a quite lengthy process, and in this case it was necessary to secure the best possible scheme and benefits for the town. We look forward to seeing the developer making a swift start on site.”

Bhajan Singh

Scruffy Ducks developer Bhajan Singh.

Mr Singh owns the portion of the land to the rear of the site, while Mr Thompson, who was the Scruffy Ducks’ publican, owns the other half bordering William Street.

Mr Singh submitted an application to the council to convert his part of the site into five one-bed and nine two-bed flats last year, but withdrew it after planning officers requested the entire car park be developed.

The site has had a turbulent history. Mr Thompson bought the freehold to the pub in 1991, changing its name to Scruffy Ducks.

It closed in June 2004 and soon after became a magnet for squatters and vandals.

The pub was demolished in February 2008 following a fire that destroyed its roof and made the derelict building unsafe.

In 2008, Mr Thompson won planning permission to build a new pub, basement wine bar and 14 flats on the site.



THOMPSON Mike 1995-June/2004


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