Are Crouch End’s pubs on borrowed time?

How Can We Conserve Crouch End’s Pubs for the Community?

Among Crouch End’s attractions are a good number of pubs and bars, catering for nearly every type of social and cultural activity you can think of. The Alex has a garden and a room for private events; the roomy Maynard Arms has plenty of space for large-scale socializing and dining; the Queens is a classic late Victorian pub with wonderful Art Nouveau features, Grade II* listed, with much original engraved and stained glass, and most of the original wooden partitions; the King’s Head, another large late Victorian pub, has an extensive basement which is a thriving venue for comedy events; the Harringay Arms is an unspoilt pub offering some good craft beers; there are also several more traditional pubs such as the Railway and the Henry Reader which are refuges for the ordinary drinker (and eater).

So there is something for nearly everyone – except, so far, an outlet for an individual craft brewery. What is also noticeable is that few pubs in Crouch End have in recent years have closed the doors and been redeveloped for housing, as has happened in Hampstead, Camden Town and Dartmouth Park – the last one here being the Bird in Hand in Park Road which was turned into a wine bar, and has now become a poor quality block of flats. But this does not mean, as property values continue their relentless rise, that the temptation for owners to convert to a mini-market, or more likely a shop with flats above is not there.

How We Could Safeguard Our Pubs

There are several ways of safeguarding pubs and their architectural and social value to the community. Heritage value can be best safeguarded through listing or being within a conservation area; all except the Alex are within the Crouch End conservation area, while as mentioned the Queens has Grade II* listing. Pubs’ use can be conserved through Asset of Community Value (ACV) status (see here for guide), which is primarily designed as a tool for community organisations but has to be applied by the local authority. It allows for a six-month moratorium on a sale during which local organizations are given the chance to raise the funds for purchase. There are several successful examples, but it is a challenge to raise £100,000s in such a short time. However an ACV does have weight in planning decision making.

HarringaynormanThe other route is through the withdrawal of permitted development rights through applying an Article 4 direction (i.e. the local authority gains the ability to refuse permission for change of use to shop or residential). This is a move which Wandsworth Council (in the news here, and here) has recently made for 120 pubs in that borough, including both historic ones of real architectural value, including some that have already closed, and even mundane examples. As Wandsworth’s deputy leader points out, these pubs now have some of the best protection in the country against conversion to estate agents, mini-supermarkets, betting shops or housing, and more protection than an ACV would offer. However, Article 4 directions have to be backed up by a planning policy that recognises the value of pubs to the community – otherwise the intention will fail. Wandsworth has put an appropriate policy in place.

Haringey Council has Local Plan policy DM50* (reproduced here – *this was previously DM60 during consultation), currently undergoing independent examination by an Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State. This notes the loss of public houses as a concern, and states the Council will resist changes that result in the loss of a public house. However, the permitted development rights are still in place, meaning that without an Article 4 direction or ACV status, pubs can still be lost as developments simply avoid going through planning.

Using the Local Plan or Asset of Community Value Status?

The question for Crouch End is whether protection of vital community assets such as pubs should wait for Haringey to agree to impose an Article 4 direction, or whether DM50 will be enough. Another question is whether ACV status for all the pubs should be sought as a means of immediate protection. Given the disturbing case of the attractive Carlton Tavern pub in Maida Vale, which was demolished overnight in 2015 by a developer without permission, apparently because listed status was imminent, it is tempting to demand ACV status for all Crouch End’s pubs. However, there is also a case for including bars such as Kiss the Sky in Park Road, which may also be vulnerable to change of use to residential.

What do you think ? Which pubs could be considered community assets? Are you willing to help us safeguard local landmarks by getting involved? The CENF social and community working group could do with your help. You can contact us here, or leave a comment below.

12 Comments

  1. Andrew Celso

    If there’s anything I can do let me know.

    Reply
    1. Adrian Essex

      Andrew, Thanks for the offer. We’d very much like someone to follow up with Camra or any other campaigning group, to determine a course of action. Lots of contact details on these pages or come to our next meeting on 5th September. Next meeting

      Reply
  2. Mark Afford

    CENF learnt of the successful registering of Tottenham Lane’s Hope & Anchor as an ACV by the ‘Save the Hope Action Committee’ in May of this year (2016).

    Andrew Dorn of the campaign writes –
    HOPE & ANCHOR Public House, Tottenham Lane London N8

    When the Hope was sold by Greene King to an unknown property developer in 2015 a group of us set up the”Save the Hope Action Committee” (SHAC) to protect the pub from closure/redevelopment/”change of use”. SHAC is an “Unincorporated Body” with no constitution, officers, assets and not subject to charity law requirements ie an ad hoc, single issue pressure group of locals.

    Trying to establish who the new owners of the Pub were was a nightmare – we were met by a wall of secrecy (and sometimes lies) and even the Landlady did not know who owned the Pub! Eventually 590 Green Lanes Limited were identified as the new owners – a “one man and a dog” “shell” company not a big corporation. We wrote to Catherine West MP, Hornsey Councillor Adam Jogee, the All Party Parliamentary “Save the Pub” Group, and CAMRA seeking advice and support. All were very supportive – we met with MP and Councillors (who wrote to Haringey planning Dept), Sadiq Khan (then MP) supplied info on similar campaign in Wandsworth and, most importantly, James Watson of CAMRA provided crucial legal and tactical advice.

    We decided to go for the ACV option rather than an Article 4 Direction (A4D) because we were dealing with one unique pub, an ACV provides adequate planning permission protection, is decided by Planning Dept officers and does not require sanction from elected members. We filled in the ACV Nomination Form (having particular regard to S.88 of the Localism Act 2011 – “furthers the well being or social interests of the community”) and got a lot of helpful advice from the Planning Dept.

    All of this took a lot of time and many red herrings and may not be relevant since CENF are are dealing with several Pubs not one – the Hope is the core of a small, supportive community and I doubt if you can say the same about most of the Crouch End pubs. A4Ds may be your best bet – contact Wandsworth Council, Cambridge City Council (have detailed Guidelines on the subject) and James Watson will have a national overview.

    Reply
    1. Denise Hambry

      I am so pleased to hear this Andrew.Glad you are putting up a fight to retain this ” local”. It has a hard core of local people who cannot & do not want to go to gastropubs & pay gastro prices…I hope they put some beer /ale on soon as promised.

      Reply
  3. Lady Chappers

    The developer that bought The Winchester (Archway Rd) is chipping away at Haringey Council one application at a time. It’s tedious and Haringey appear powerless to stop. Based on this experience, I would advise to do anything you can to protect any Haringey pub that you value!

    Reply
  4. Thirsty

    Perhaps we should save our local pubs by the most direct means possible, drink more.
    Perhaps there are some amongst us who prefer the grip of a Parker paired with some council issued documents, over that of a sturdy ale in a slightly grubby glass. But not many.
    As such, we should fight like brothers in arms, pints in hand.

    Reply
    1. Man at the bar

      Drink! for you know not whence you came nor why: drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.

      Or perhaps, the favourite amongst ACV-ers . . .
      Change your hearts or you will lose your Inns and you will deserve to have lost them. But when you have lost your Inns drown your empty selves, for you will have lost the last of England.

      Reply
  5. Richard Downes

    I support pubs and protecting them.

    I wonder though if we could make the streets of crouch end an alcohol free zone?

    Reply
    1. Mark Afford

      It seems the edgy boozers of Crouch End (once all of them, and not so long ago either) may be about to become extinct. Both the Harringay and the Henry Reader are to be relaunched – the HR as a craft beer place. Hopefully they’ll still be sanctuaries for the drinking classes (within which I certainly include myself).

      Nevertheless Crouch End still has 9 pubs/bars – a survival rate far exceeding everywhere else in London (other than our neighbours Highgate and Hornsey), St Johns Wood has lost 90%, Kentish Town half, Hampstead two-thirds. Will it last?

      As far as considering ACV status goes, it appears that the Harringay is being taken back by the pub co (Enterprise), who may install a new tenant or put a manager in to run it, rather than sell it. I guess there’s still a threat down the line that they may attempt to dispose of the pub, though we have no information to that end, However Enterprise are well known for an ability to shed under-performing pubs. Can anyone offer reassurance?

      Reply
  6. Adrian Essex

    An extract from a legal website http://opn8.co.uk/2sRzZZj reads “The Act [Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017] strengthens the protection of drinking establishments by requiring the Secretary of State to remove permitted rights for demolition and for changes of use away from use class A4. ” Richard Matz on Bowes and Bounds writes “New planning regulations that came into effect on 23/05/17 now require a full planning application and community consultation before a pub can be demolished or converted to other use. In effect, the Asset of Community Value safeguards that we previously had to apply for are now a statutory requirement.” http://opn8.co.uk/2sRxw1j

    Reply
  7. Drew Williams

    I spent many nights in the Queenshead (live music so they could stay open later) and the Bird in Hand. They are filled with memories of friends, strange people, old timers with stories, and free sausage and potatoes during big football matches,

    Reply

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