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Hampstead landlord brands campaigners ‘muppets’ after they lobbied for his pub to be listed

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 November 2015

Steve Coxshall outside his pub the Duke of Hamilton

Steve Coxshall outside his pub the Duke of Hamilton

Archant

A Hampstead pub landlord has branded campaigners who lobbied to protect his business from development “muppets”.

Steve Coxshall is furious that his independent pub, the Duke of Hamilton, has this week been granted ACV status by Camden Council against his wishes.

He has now barred members of the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum, who nominated him, and has launched an online tirade against them, threatening to turn the pub into a “strip club” in revenge.

He tweeted: “We have just made a cocktail named after @HampsteadForum, we called it ‘The Bell End’. So now we are an Asset of the Community we shall make the place into a strip club! What an utter joke!”

The Duke of Hamilton, known fondly as The Duke, is one of three Hampstead pubs given ACV status by Camden this week following a campaign by the forum launched in April.

The others are The Hollybush, in Holly Mount, and the King William 1V, in Hampstead High Street.

Forum members were concerned by the number of local historic pubs lost to the community after being turned into homes, shops or offices.

Under government legislation announced in January, AVC status means that when a listed pub goes up for sale there must first be a six-month moratorium, giving community groups time to come up with financing and launch their own bid to buy it.

New owners must also apply for planning permission for any change of use, giving the community a say over the plans.

But Mr Coxshall said: “Those muppets are hypocrites. They went ahead against my wishes despite never coming in or buying a drink. The only reason my pub has any community value is because of all the money I put in and work I have done,”

“In a time of economic uncertainty if money was to stop coming in, I am the one who would now be prevented from selling my pub at market value and would by penalised. I am furious. The ACV has devalued my pub and I am taking legal advice about suing the forum for what they have done.”

He has also written to Camden Council and intends to appeal.

Mr Coxshall bought The Duke in 2011, saving it from being turned into houses. He has revamped its interior and attracts drinkers from all over the capital with his Rabbit Hole comedy and jazz venue downstairs.

Later in 2011 the pub, which is now also home to the Hampstead Rugby Club, was crowned best pub in the capital by website Fancy a Pint, beating 12,000 others.

Janine Griffis, who chairs the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum said: “We are delighted that Camden has listed all three of our nominees and hope they continue to serve the local community for many, many years to come.”

Of Mr Coxshall’s threat to ban them, she said: “The forum has well over 800 members, so we might be hard to distinguish, and we would like to think that our custom would be welcome anywhere.

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