Historic Old White Bear pub in Hampstead ‘saved’ after huge community campaign

17:41 10 February 2014

Campaigners dress up to save the Old White Bear in Well Road. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Campaigners dress up to save the Old White Bear in Well Road. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email

The huge campaign to save a 300-year-old watering hole may have scored a significant victory after Camden Council reportedly refused plans to turn it into a luxury six-bedroom house.

The huge campaign to save a 300-year-old watering hole may have scored a significant victory after Camden Council reportedly refused plans to turn it into a luxury six-bedroom house.

The council is believed to have rejected developer Braaid Ventures Ltd’s change of use application to turn the historic Old White Bear pub, in Well Road, Hampstead, into housing.

The news comes little more than a week after the venue closed its doors on Sunday February 2 and will give campaigners hope that it will reopen as a pub in the future.

In an email, the leaders of the Save The Old White Bear campaign wrote: “Camden Council [has] refused permission to convert the Old White Bear to a six-bedroom house!

“The details of the refusal have yet to be published online but we understand that it was based on the Old White Bear’s irreplaceable importance to the local community – clearly demonstrated by the wealth of comments and letters from everyone explaining how the pub’s loss would have such an enormous impact on their lives.”

Online and paper petitions opposing the change of use application attracted nearly 4,000 signatures in total.

Braaid Ventures had also lodged an application to change the use into a restaurant, which can be done without planning permission under “permitted development”.

However, Camden Council has also blocked this step according to campaigners, by invoking special powers to remove the permitted development rights.

This measure only applies for six months, but the Save The Old White Bear group says the council can make it permanent if there is enough public support.

A spokesman said: “We are absolutely delighted with the steps taken by Camden Council to protect our pub. It shows how important the Old White Bear has been to our community not only in recent times but since it was first built in 1704.

“The local community is determined to keep the Old White Bear as a pub. It is therefore important that during the consultation period, local people write in to support the council’s Article 4 Direction [to remove the permitted development rights].

“We are tremendously grateful to Camden Council for carefully investigating the facts about the Old White Bear’s importance to its users and for issuing a refusal on the application to convert the pub into a house.

“We are also delighted that the Council has taken the proactive and decisive step to issue an immediate Article 4 Direction to remove Permitted Development rights and therefore stop the pub from being classified as a restaurant.

“We understand that such a move will have required both much consideration and agreement from different departments within the Council and our sincere thanks must go to everybody who was a part of that process.

“We would publicly like to thank our thousands of supporters for rallying around us in our hour of need. Without that support, the pub would certainly have slipped away from us. At least now there is a good prospect that it may yet open its doors again. We strongly urge the developer to meet with us and discuss the way forward in bringing this matter to a conclusion satisfactory to all interested parties.

“Finally, we would like to thank our local ward councillors for their support – in particular Cllr Chris Knight who has advised and supported us throughout every minute of our fight and who has spent many hours in and out of Camden Town Hall lobbying on our behalves.”


Latest News Stories

2 minutes ago
Tulip Siddiq challenged the Prime Minister in the House of Commons

Mothers’ maiden names should be listed on marriage certificates alongside fathers’ names, Hampstead and Kilburn’s MP has told Parliament.

Piers Corbyn, right, with the squatters in West Hampstead and Cllr Lorna Russell

Squatters who have occupied empty former council offices in West Hampstead will appear in court today.

Cllr Sarah Hayward

The leader at Camden Council has warned that the Chancellor’s comprehensive spending review may leave the authority struggling to carry out essential duties and place vulnerable residents at risk.

The youth attacked the women in Parliament Hill

The parents of a woman who was robbed and sexually assaulted on Hampstead Heath stormed out of a courtroom in anger after her 16-year-old attacker was jailed for just one year.

Yesterday, 17:00
Traders and Highgate Neighbourhood Forum members Jane Wiles, Rachel Allison, Louise Lewis, Allan Rapley and Emine Gokturk  launch Highgate's first live advent calendar. Picture: Nigel Sutton

For adults and children, the suspense of waiting each day to find out what is underneath the window of your advent calendar is one of the joys of the Christmas season.

Yesterday, 15:47
Khayerul Miah, pictured, and his brother have joined IS in Syria

The Camden school where two Islamic State (IS) recruits were pupils has released a statement to parents.

Yesterday, 15:13
Police cordoned off the pavement outside the Vodafone store in Finchley Road

The pavement outside a parade of shops on Finchley Road has been cordoned off after knife raiders threatened staff at a branch of Vodafone and made off with thousands of pounds worth of mobile phones.

Yesterday, 14:39
Save Autism Services Haringey protesters outside Haringey Civic Centre in Wood Green. Photo: Martin Ball

Families of vulnerable adults believe that dementia and autism services can still be saved – if council tax is increased.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!


You are never far from an Argos, wherever in the country you may be. They are like a magical cavern where whatever you need they seem to have it out the back behind the counter. So why not put them to the test with this great MyOffers competition to win £1000 to spend in-store.

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder