Council threaten action against owners of derelict Old White Bear pub

The Old White Bear pub in Hampstead

The Old White Bear pub in Hampstead - Credit: Archant

Developers who own the derelict Old White Bear pub in Hampstead have been ordered to take down scaffolding at the historic building by the end of the week or face enforcement action by Camden Council.

Campaigners dress up to save the Old White Bear in Well Road in February 2014. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Campaigners dress up to save the Old White Bear in Well Road in February 2014. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

In a letter seen by the Ham&High, planning officers wrote: “The site has had scaffolding erected around it for a number of months, with seemingly no works being carried out on site.”

They said said hoarding had been put up without permission and wrote: “If no action is taken to remove the scaffolding by the end of this week and no justification has been received for the scaffolding to be up, the possibility of serving a section 215 (a wasteland notice) will be looked at next week.”

The notice requires landowners to clear up a site that the local authority regards as “adversely affecting the amenity of neighbours.

As reported in the Ham&High the historic watering hole in Well Road, which dates back to the 18th century, shut its doors in February 2014 - six months after being bought by developer Braaid Ventures Ltd.

The firm purchased the site for about £1.6million and originally planned to transform it into a luxury six-bedroom townhouse.

But residents launched a campaign to the save the pub – winning the backing of celebrities including comic Ricky Gervais, actors Peter Egan and Dominic Cooper and presenter Caroline Flack – and the plans were eventually blocked by Camden Council.

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The council then invoked a special power known as an “article four direction” to make it more difficult to turn it into a restaurant or housing at a later date.

The Old White Bear was also listed as an “asset of community value”, but despite the determined efforts of councillors and campaigners, the uncertainty over its future has persisted.

In August 2014 it was revealed that a new operator had stepped in with a deal to revive the pub and reopen it. However since then scaffolding has been put up but no progress has been made with the pub lying derelict and empty.

The Ham&High was unable to track down the developers for a comment.