I’m delighted with Westminster Council’s decision to force a developer that illegally tore down the Carlton Tavern to rebuild it brick-by-brick. The developer’s application to redevelop the pub was turned down by Westminster Council was turned down – but they proceeded to tear it down earlier this month anyway: one day before it was due to be granted listed status.
I called for the pub to be rebuilt in its entirety to send a strong message and deterrence to developers that would otherwise flout planning laws. If a pub were in a similar situation in Camden, I would fight to ensure the Council’s response were just as tough to ensure we save our pubs.
Hampstead’s pubs are hugely important to our community: from the Old Bull & Bush in North End to the George in Belsize Park and from the Flask in the Village to the Garden Gate on South End Green.
I support the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum’s campaign for all pubs in the area to be listed as Assets of Community Value. This status confers two advantages: it means the owner requires additional planning permission to be converted to a different use and means that if the property is put up for sale, the local community has six months to bid for it before anyone else.
The Old White Bear and Magdala have already been granted this status, but with the two facing very different fates – the Magdala is reopening this June, while the Old White Bear remains under threat – it’s important for pubs to have real champions in Town Hall. If elected, I would put the preservation of our pubs top of my agenda.