Earl Haig Hall: Community bid to protect pub from developers as nursery plans emerge

British Legion Earl Haig Memorial Hall was saved from demolition in 2012.

British Legion Earl Haig Memorial Hall was saved from demolition in 2012. - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Fans of the Earl Haig Hall in Crouch End – which was open as a pub until January – have applied for it to be locally listed and become an Asset of Community Value (ACV).

This comes as the Broadway can reveal a company has held pre-application planning discussions with Haringey Council with a view to opening a nursery on the site.

The Crouch End Neightbourhood Forum who made the listing applications, said it was a ”pre-emptive strike” against developers who they fear could try to turn the old British Legion building into housing, again.

The forum wants the Hall added to the local list of heritage assets, and for its ACV status to be renewed,

The forum’s chair, Mark Afford, told this newspaper: “It’s happening now because things have changed.

“It’s the same as in 2012 when the British Legion left and they sold the place. It was bought and there was a developer who put in a planning application to build housing.

“It was refused, but we think there’s the same kind of threat this time.

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“We’ll see what happens when there’s an application,” he said.

“What we fear is that the developers are playing a game whereby they leave it empty for a year then put in a planning application to demolish it saying they can’t find anyone.

“We think new housing is important in Crouch End, but it’s such a small site we think it was of more use to the community as it was.”

Mr Afford said there had been a “positive response” since the pub had shut. “But of course it’s in private hands,” he said.

But an agent marketing the property for its new owners Max Barney Estates told this newspaper that an unnamed company had agreed to move into the building – subject to planning consent.

The agent, Nick Furlong of BC Retail, suggested the interested party had been in pre-application planning talks with Haringey Council and would be submitting a planning application in due course.

He was unable to name either the company in question or to describe the nature of any potential application.

Nick said: “We have terms agreed with an interested party, subject to planning. The reality is that it will come down to planning.

“The previous operation just wasn’t viable.

“Nobody seems to account for the fact that the last operation actually owned the building – and they decided to sell it for a reason.”