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Sir Richard Steele pub beer garden and function room saved from flats development

PUBLISHED: 16:20 24 July 2015 | UPDATED: 17:08 24 July 2015

The Sir Richard Steele in Steeles Village

The Sir Richard Steele in Steeles Village

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A pub’s beer garden and upstairs function room has been saved after its owners lost a planning appeal to build flats above the tavern.

Owners Faucet Inn had appealed to overturn last year’s decision by Camden Council to refuse planning permission for four flats above the Sir Richard Steele pub in Haverstock Hill – commonly known as The Steeles.

But the Planning Inspectorate dismissed the bid on Wednesday, concluding that the proposal would result in the loss of a “valued community facility”.

The upstairs room was used for public meetings and the popular Monkey Business Comedy Club up until December last year, when Faucet Inn stopped hosting community events.

Planning inspector Sarah Stevens wrote: “I consider such events to be community uses providing local residents and others with social and educational activities and, from the submissions, such events ceased due to the decision of the appellant rather than due to lack of demand.”

She also stated: “The room and the rest of the floor appeared quite dated and shabby in appearance but nevertheless could still be used for meetings, social events and performances.”

Faucet Inn had argued that the comedy club and any other community events could instead be hosted on the pub’s ground floor or in its basement.

But Ms Stevens ruled that these alternatives were not practical.

The pub’s redevelopment would have resulted in the loss of the large beer garden, and converted into private space for the residents of the new flats.

Ms Stevens wrote: “This area is a popular attraction and used for regular BBQs [sic] which were being advertised.

“In my opinion the loss of the beer garden, especially in an inner city area, would result in the loss of a valued community facility.”

Martin Besserman, who now runs Monkey Business Comedy Club from The Oxford pub in Kentish Town, said he felt vindicated by the decision after being ejected from the pub seven months ago.

“It was a well-liked and respected comedy club, which I worked very, very hard for,” he said. “Most publicans would have been delighted to have a club like that.”

He added: “The inspector was obviously perceptive and intelligent and could see through their expensive solicitors who were representing them. She came to the right decision.”

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