Community prepares for battle over future of closed Highgate pub

The Victoria pub has closed Pic credit: Polly Hancock

The Victoria pub has closed Pic credit: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Pub campaigners have launched a battle to save an award-winning Highgate pub which has been shut down by its off-shore owners.

Actor Neil Stuke

Actor Neil Stuke - Credit: Charlie Dailey

The Victoria pub, in North Hill, closed two weeks ago, with Cyprus-based owners MJP Properties claiming the pub is too small to

operate as a profitable business with too many other pubs in the area.

In September, a Ham&High exclusive investigation revealed £45million of overseas cash was invested in seven iconic pubs in Hampstead, Highgate, Primrose Hill and Camden Town from 2010 to 2014.

The Victoria is the last of these seven venues to shut down. The others, including the Magdala pub in Hampstead – where the last

woman to be hanged in Britain, Ruth Ellis, famously shot her lover – gay pub The Black Cap in Camden Town and The Albert, in Primrose Hill, have already closed their doors.

Actor and pub campaigner Neil Stuke said: “This community is in uproar. We will be campaigning to save the pub, we will be gaining

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ACV status, getting the community behind us and we will do every-thing in our power to stop this pub getting converted into flats.

The Doctor Foster and Silk star added: “This is cultural vandalism and classic asset stripping tactics.

This is happening to 27 pubs a week – 7,000 pubs have closed in seven years, you can’t get people to care, they rely on their apathy.

“The broader picture is the British pub is low picking fruit for rapacious developers who will attempt to close that part of our

community down.

“They have no feeling for the community, just a short sighted view that a pub that doesn’t do well is untenable, when that isn’t true. With proper support a pub can thrive.”

Highgate ward councillor Bob Hare added: “I’m very sorry to see this pub now at risk. It is an important community resource and had its own unique character as part of North Hill.

“I would be very sorry indeed if this was converted into a residential property. I know this will lead to a community battle.”

Robert Wilson, director of HB Surveyors and Valuers LTD (hbsv), which manages the property for MJP, said they called bailiffs after leaseholders Icon Bars failed to pay the rent. He said: “MJP will be considering a number of options going forward. However expert

industry advice is that the Victoria is too small to operate as a sustain-able business, not the least because there is too much competition from other established pubs in close proximity.”

Icon Bars has not responded to our requests for a comment.