I’m delighted to hear that the Old White Bear on Well Road is to re-open. The 300-year-old pub, which the community has fought to resurrect since it closed in 2014, was once an invaluable asset in the heart of Hampstead, and I hope it will resume being one.
The pub is scheduled to re-open in 2018, after an extension refurbishment. As part of the plan, the second floor will include space rented by Heathside Prep School as auxiliary space.
I welcome this scheme as a means to give the Old White Bear a steady income and allow it to use the premises in full, even during the day.
The Old White Bear was granted Asset of Community Value (ACV) status in 2014 – the first in Hampstead to do so – and planning permission to convert it into housing was rejected.
As an aside, the Old White Bear in later years became renowned for its food. When the pub closed, the management and kitchen team set up the restaurant at 28 Church Row, which I highly recommend.
With my Conservative colleagues, especially Tom Currie and former councillor Chris Knight, I have campaigned to preserve and protect all of Hampstead’s pubs.
One-by-one, they are being granted ACV status: allowing the community greater control over premises when it is proposed to convert them from pubs to another use. I have written about that here.
Update: The Ham & High has covered the plan. The piece is generally excellent, and the print edition quotes my delight at the news, but as a correction: although I supported the original campaign to save the Bear in 2014, I was not directly involved (it was before I was elected) and I hope nobody gets the wrong end of the stick about that!
For more about my campaign to support local businesses, click here.