‘The smell from the brewery is so bad we can’t sit in our gardens!’

Bored neighbors say the stench from a brewery is so bad they can’t sit in their garden, but bosses are urging residents to be more “pro-business”.

People living near South East Bottling (SEB) on Northdown Industrial Estate in Broadstairs have complained of a “yeasty, sickly” smell that may even force them to keep their windows closed.

Neighbors say they can’t open their windows when smell from South East Bottling (SEB) in Broadstairs is at its worst

That’s the pong, Thanet District Council has now commissioned the company to carry out an odor assessment.

SEB, which collaborates with brands such as Old Dairy and Tiny Rebel, says that it is “a shame that local residents and the municipality choose to operate in an anti-entrepreneurial way in these times.”

But Marion Langelier, whose property borders the brewery, told KentOnline: “If it smells it disrupts my free time. It keeps me from going into the garden.


“If the wind doesn’t blow, it stays. It resembles a malty scent.

“If it’s a little strong and hangs around all the time and never goes away, it’s annoying.”

Marion Langelier’s garden is adjacent to the brewery on Northdown Industrial Estate in Broadstairs

Ms Langelier, 82, says there are also noise problems, particularly “banging and clashing” rubbish bins.

The factory’s flue is located directly behind Matt Walters’ garden. He describes the pong as “horrible”.

“When the wind is bad, it’s really sickening,” he said.

“If it’s really bad, you can smell it until you’re on the road.

“On a bad day it’s terrible. You can’t stay outside.

South East Bottling is located on Northdown Industrial Estate in Broadstairs

“You can’t have the windows open when the smell is there because it just blows into the house.”


The 55-year-old admits that the unwanted smell has become less common lately.

He continued: “It’s not like every day, every hour. But when it happens, it’s bad.

“I know they are a local company and I want them to do well, but not at this price.”

However, the smell does not bother everyone who lives near the industrial estate.

“We are sorry that some local residents find the smell disgusting…”

Chris Prentice, 49, said: “I don’t mind. It doesn’t stop me from sitting in the garden at all.

“I would describe it as hot Weetabix. It’s quite comforting. It’s fun.”

The need for an odor assessment arises from a retrospective application from SEB for the installation of a flue.

Planning agencies imposed on them the condition to make an independent analysis of the odors, which the brewery then tried to remove.

But TDC refused and stated: “Failure to submit an odor assessment would lead to damage to the odor perception of the residents of surrounding homes.”

Steam is coming from the chimney flue at Northdown Industrial Estate in Broadstairs. Photo: Matt Walters

Duncan Sambrook, managing director of SEB, said: “We are sorry that some local residents find the smell disgusting. I actually quite like it.

“Ultimately, however, we are asking for a compromise with our neighbors to recognize the need to be pro-business due to the small impact our activities may have on their enjoyment of the property.

“We have had an ongoing dialogue with the council, but unfortunately our neighbors have chosen not to engage with us directly, preferring to submit complaints through the council.”

Mr Sambrook believes he does not need to concern himself with issues around odor as the brewing of the beer is permitted within the existing planning permission for the industrial use of the site.

Despite this, when concerns were first raised four years ago, bosses decided to proactively engage with the council to resolve the issues that had arisen.

Following this, Mr Sambrook says he has reduced working hours so that the flue is only in use once or twice a day, up to a maximum of ten times a week.

He felt they had “reached an appropriate compromise” but was then asked to do the odor assessment out of his own pocket.

When he rejected this, he called it “irrelevant and unnecessarily expensive”.

“I find this completely disingenuous,” he continued.

“If we had known this would be the outcome, we would have just claimed the permitted development rights.”

Mr Sambrook says the only way to completely stop the smell is to use a vapor heat recovery system.

These could cost between £2,000 and £7,000 – a price tag that is “extremely expensive” for the small business still recovering from Covid.

He added: “From the outset we have tried to be proactive with residents and the council.

“We have addressed, at our own expense, many of the initial concerns, and we believe it is not unreasonable for us to be able to operate a flue without restrictions on weekdays between short periods of use.”

A spokesperson for Thanet District Council said it fully supports local businesses but must “balance this with its duty to ensure compliance and protect residents and the environment”.

They added: “As this is an ongoing investigation involving both environmental health and planning enforcement, we are unable to comment further.”

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