Bid to protect all Hampstead pubs as assets to community

Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum launch a campaign protect all of the local pubs in Hampstead

Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum launch a campaign protect all of the local pubs in Hampstead - Credit: Nigel Sutton

A campaign to give every pub in Hampstead special blanket protection from closure has today been launched by residents and regulars.

Street party oustide The Old White Bear pub.

Street party oustide The Old White Bear pub. - Credit: Archant

They are alarmed at the number of local historic pubs that have been lost to the community after being turned into homes, shops or offices by developers.

At present these changes can be made freely under permitted development rules.

The Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum now hopes to make history by becoming the first area in London and the second in the UK to apply for mass listing of all its 12 remaining pubs in the area as Assets of Community Values (ACVs).

This will give each of them special protection under new government legislation announced in January, and take away permitted development rights.

When an ACV listed pub goes up for sale there must first be a six-month moratorium, giving community groups time to come up with financing and make their own bid to buy it.

New owners must also apply for planning permission for any change of use, giving the community the chance to have a say.

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Janine Griffis, chair of the forum, which celebrated its second year in March, says that since the 1980s, the area has lost eight of its 20 pubs, among them the Nags Head, in Heath Street, which shut in 2006 to became an estate agent and the King of Bohemia in Hampstead High Street, which is now a branch of chain boutique Reiss.

She is determined to act to prevent any more community locals from being sold off and lost from under their noses.

She has been spurred on by the recent successful campaign to save the 18th century Old White Bear from being turned into a six-bedroom house.

As reported in the Ham&High, thousands, including comedian Ricky Gervais and actors Peter Egan and Dominic Cooper joined the protest, and the plans were eventually blocked and the pub listed as an ACV. It is due to reopen as a pub in May.

Ms Griffis said: “We are not aware of any other area in London taking such a step on this scale. It is a very ambitious project. We are determined to halt the closure of any more of our valued pubs.”

The pubs being nominated for ACV status are the grade II listed Old Bull and Bush, in North End Road, and grade II listed Holly Bush, in Holly Mount. The Horseshoe, in Heath Street, The Flask, in Flask Walk, and The 300-year-old Duke of Hamilton, in New End.

Also included are The Wells Tavern. in Well Walk, the King William IV, in Hampstead High Street, The Freemasons Arms, in Downshire Hill and The Garden Gate, The White Horse and the Grade-II listed Roebuck in South End Green and the now closed Rosslyn Arms, later the Bar Room Bar, in Rosslyn Hill, and a favourite of rock star Liam Gallagher.

They must now convince Camden planners that these pubs benefit the local community and need as much evidence as possible.

The forum is urging people to go to to add their voices to the campaign by saying what the pubs mean to them.