Earl Haig Hall: Plans for old British Legion building to be sold again – but nursery here to stay

The old Earl Haig Hall on Elder Avenue. Picture: Sam Volpe

The old Earl Haig Hall on Elder Avenue. Picture: Sam Volpe - Credit: Archant

A year after it closed and seven years after it was first ‘saved’. the Earl Haig Hall in Crouch End is set to change hands again.

The building was operating as a pub until January 2019 when owners Antic sold up to the Max Barney Pub Company (MBPC), who then marketed the premises for tenants.

But now MBPC is seeking to sell the property with a sitting tenant - nursery operator Kido in place on a long-term lease, having been granted planning permission to change the building's use.

As the site is an 'asset of community value' (ACV) the community has the right to bid, but there is no obligation on the owner to accept.

The Crouch End Neighbourhood Forum chair Mark Afford told this newspaper: "Because they've now got sitting tenants in, they've put it up for sale.

"We did get the ACV listing but it proved to be entirely useless as soon as planning permission was granted for the change of use over the summer. And now they've gutted the inside of the building it's not really an asset for the community anyway."

Mark added that he didn't think Crouch Enders were too upset at the building becoming a nursery, but said it was a "disappointing" to see internal changes to the layout approved.

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Despite any sale, the tenant will stay in place and the nursery is expected to open early in 2020.

The Earl Haig Hall was formerly owned by the Royal British Legion before the Hornsey branch in shut in 2010.

After a planning battle in 2012, the building was reopened as a pub by Antic in 2013, and it has also been used for community events.

Agents BC Retail, which has marketed the property, repeatedly told this newspaper the "previous operation just wasn't viable" while Alex Ringer from nursery operator Kido - previously known as SafariKid said the group was "excited by the opportunity to potentially join the local community of Crouch End".

The planning application was approved by Haringey Council officers in August on the basis that the nursery would open the building up to community use during the evenings.