Victory for campaigners as judge rules The Steele's pub should be protected
PUBLISHED: 17:18 16 May 2016 | UPDATED: 17:21 16 May 2016
Residents campaigning to save the Sir Richard Steele pub in Belsize Park and stop its upper floors from being turned into flats have won the latest round of their long battle.
A judge today ruled that the whole of the historic Sir Richard Steele pub, a favourite of celebrities including Oasis brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher, is an Asset of Community Value (ACV) and as such should be protected from redevelopment.
The pub has faced an uncertain futures as owners Faucet Inns have made numerous bids to turn the upstairs floors into flats or a hotel.
Depsite having their original planning application rejected by Camden Council in 2014, Faucet Inns then appealed to the environment secretary to overturn the decision.
But last July, the Planning Inspectorate dismissed the bid concluding that the proposal would result in the loss of a “valued community facility”.
The upstairs room was used for public meetings and the popular Monkey Business Comedy Club up until Faucet Inn stopped hosting community events.
In a move to protect the pub, known locally as The Steele’s, once and for all campaigners succesfully had it listed as an ACV by Camden Council in May last year. The protected status gives community groups the chance to delay any sale and come up with proposals to keep the pub running.
But in March, Faucet Inns refused to give up and appealed the ACV status at a tribunal saying that it was wrong to include the upper floors and function room in the listing.
They also submitted a new planning application in April to build four flats on the upper floors.
But announcing the results of the ACV tribunal today, Judge Peter Lane rejected the developers claim. He said the pub is a “functioning and well-loved neighbourhood pub”.
Ruling in the residents’ favour, he said: “On any rational view”, the upper floors were an actual part of the pub.
They comprise accommodation for management and the function room, which was in use as recently as within the last two years, he said.
“Accordingly, the entirety of the building comprising the Sir Richard Steele, together with its garden, comprises a single set of premises,” he continued.
“I find it realistic to think that there can continue to be relevant use, of the same kind and involving the same areas of the premises, as currently exists.”
In the 1990s, The Steele’s was at the centre of the Britpop movement with Chris Evans and Oasis brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher often seen at the bar.