The Alliance: Concern over 'chipping away' at West Hampstead pub

The Alliance pub in West Hampstead

The Alliance pub in West Hampstead. - Credit: Fordwych RA

Regulars at The Alliance pub in West Hampstead are concerned about a planning application which would see the ground floor space reduced. 

Mark Reynolds, who owns the building, has applied to convert some of the pub's ground floor into two flats and compensate for this by creating a new community room in the pub's basement. 

Drinkers - and community groups who used the pub as a meeting place prior to the pandemic - are worried the latest application could see the pub's viability impacted. 

Keith Moffitt, co-chair of the Fortune Green and West Hampstead Neighbourhood Development Forum, told this newspaper: "The thing about The Alliance is that it's a pub that does really cater for the West Hampstead community. I have been to funerals, birthday parties, all sorts of meetings there, it's that sort of pub.

"We would be very concerned about anything that puts that at risk, and anything that makes it less viable as a pub."

His concerns were echoed by Joanne Scott from the Fordwych Residents Association. She told this newspaper that the loss of street-level bar space "would diminish customer appeal of the pub", and was upset at the "chipping away" of space there.

She said the lack of light in the proposed community room was also a concern.

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Cllr Lorna Russell (Lab, Fortune Green) said: "The pandemic has hit the hospitality sector hard and I’m really concerned that this planning application will compound the challenges that the pub has had to navigate in recent months.

A side view of West Hampstead community pub the Alliance

The Alliance previousTly had upper levels converted into flats. - Credit: Fordwych RA

"While this application may look harmless from the outset, I am worried that reducing the pub’s usable space on the ground floor would decrease the pub’s capacity."

Cllr Russell said she was also worried changes to the kitchen, which will also move to the basement, could impact on the pub's business.

Ming Ko, of Ko Architects which has submitted the plans on Mr Reynolds' behalf, said the applicants had come up with the plans after meeting with the pub landlord and the neighbourhood forum. 

He said: "[The scheme is] providing more community space in a different part of the building, and the plans are to make better use of the building. 

"We have spent many hours in meetings with the pub looking at what's the best way to protect the business. That's the whole idea."

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