Pub News – March 2024

Correction to WhatPub Update 60! In the previous edition’s WhatPub Update we stated that the Smithfield Tap was operated by the Bloomsbury Leisure Group. Bloomsbury have informed us that this is not correct. It is in fact the recently formed Ad-Hoc Pub Co. We apologise for the error.

There is potentially good news regarding the Angel in Hayes End. This remarkably intact neo-Georgian roadhouse was built in 1926 for Fuller’s by the acclaimed T H Nowell Powell. It is Grade II-listed. Fuller’s closed it in 2018 and sold the pub to a developer who did not realise it was Grade II listed. Hayes Muslim Centre applied to Hillingdon Council for planning permission but they withdrew the application prior to a hearing. After remaining “vacant” with Guardians for several years it is now up for sale again, in the hands of leisure industry specialists AG&G. The pub rated three stars on CAMRA’s register of historic pub interiors but this will probably need to be reassessed should it reopen as a pub.

There are changes afoot at the Antwerp Arms in Tottenham (N17 8AS), north London’s only community owned pub. The current tenants have new plans and are moving on so the owners, the Antwerp Arms Association, needed to find a replacement. Their choice will no doubt go down well with local cask ale enthusiasts; it is husband and wife team Andy Moffat and Sam Rigby from Tottenham’s Redemption Brewing Company. They took over on 1 March. Andy and Sam were founder shareholders of the project so their commitment cannot be doubted. Most of the staff are staying on and the community work will continue.

Q An unfortunate situation has developed at the Baring Hall Hotel. After a series of battles over many years, the Baring Trust saved this Grade-II listed pub from demolition (it was, at one point, on Historic Britain’s Heritage at Risk register) and were rewarded by the arrival of a new owner, respected publican Garry Mallen, with plans to restore and reopen the pub for the community. It is valuable because it is an early example of the ‘improved public house’. Unfortunately, at the end of January, a group of 15 squatters moved in. The Trust made an impassioned appeal on Facebook, explaining the damage that the squatters were doing and asking them to leave, but to no effect. Being a commercial property, legal proceedings are required to remove them but these have been delayed by a procedural error at the local county court. Damage to the building, graffiti and fly-tipping are now reported to be occurring. To quote from the Facebook post, ‘Please understand that you are not the good guys in this matter. You ARE the bad guys’.

The Constitution in Camden Town reopened on 15 March after something close to a complete rebuild. Owners Young & Co say that the pub will stay true to its traditional roots as ‘a celebration of all that’s great about the British pub’.

Photo @NLondonCAMRA

Bad news here. Westminster City Council has given consent for the upper floors of the Duke of York in Fitzrovia to be converted to residential accommodation (two single bedroom flats). CAMRA’s West London branch had objected on two grounds: firstly that the loss of the manager’s flat and other staff accommodation might affect the ability to attract staff to work at the premises, especially in central London, and, secondly, that there will inevitably be noise issues which will lead to a conflict between the new residents and the operation of the pub. There is a high risk that this will become another ‘Trojan horse’ case. As regards the staff accommodation issue, the planning committee preferred to accept the applicant’s surveyors view that it is a perk. At present, the first floor function room is safe. The pub may have to close completely for some time because of the works involved, which include relocating the toilets to the basement and installing a new stairway to access the flats.

The long standing tenants of the Eleanor Arms in Bow, Frankie and Leslie Colclough, were meant to retire at the end of March. Owners Shepherd Neame had put the pub on the market. The new owners have asked them to stay on until the end of June. The local CAMRA branch, East London & City, said a now premature goodbye to them at the last of many meetings there on 21 March. The pub has been a regular advertiser in this magazine for many years and so we would like to offer them our thanks for all their support and send them our very best wishes for the future.

Another potential reopening. The Florence in Canonbury closed in 2013 when sold by Punch. It became an interior design shop in 2015. A company called Polygon Public House Ltd, registered in Halifax, Yorkshire, recently applied again to Islington Council for a premises licence, the deadline for which is 6 April. The pub has some attractive brown exterior tiling, so let’s hope that this is retained.

Despite a long battle, this one, sadly, appears to be lost. Planning permission has been submitted to Croydon Council for the demolition of the Glamorgan (CR0 6BE). If approved, it will be replaced with an eight-storey mixed use development which will, at least, include a new public house site. Sadly, these replacement pubs often do not work out.

Last November, the owners of the Royal Oak in Havering-Atte-Bower (RM4 1PP), which closed in 2019, submitted plans to Havering Council to reopen the pub but with the rear of the pub being demolished and replaced with flats. The site is however in a conservation area and is in the green belt. The application was rejected because it was an ‘unsympathetic, visually intrusive development which would not preserve or enhance the special character of his part of the conservation area’ and ‘harmful to the character of the surrounding area and the amenity of future occupiers’. I think that they have made their feelings clear there. Sadly, there wasn’t much enthusiasm from local residents for the reopening of the pub in any form. The Royal Oak remains closed.