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Hawley Arms’ revamp is held up by red tape

PUBLISHED: 12:54 08 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:03 07 September 2010

Ben McPartland RED tape is halting celebrity hang out The Hawley Arms rising from the ashes, according to the landlords. The trendy Camden Town boozer was ravaged in the Great Fire of Camden in February and has remained closed ever since. Devastated landl

Ben McPartland

RED tape is halting celebrity hang out The Hawley Arms rising from the ashes, according to the landlords.

The trendy Camden Town boozer was ravaged in the Great Fire of Camden in February and has remained closed ever since.

Devastated landlady Ruth Mottram, who runs the pub with Doug Charles-Ridler and Alan Day, is desperate to open the doors again but says they are being bogged down by paperwork from Camden Council's planning department.

The bid to rebuild the popular pub has had to join the queue behind more mundane applications to trim trees, put in new windows and extend basements.

"It is a bit frustrating to be honest," said Ms Mottram. "We put a planning application in at the end of March but it got sent back to us because some things were missing. We sent another one in a couple of weeks ago and I am in the process of chasing them to find out what the hold up is. They told me they have a backlog of planning applications.

"I think there should be a fast track system for anyone like us because that fire happened through no fault of our own. We hoped we would be supported in getting it open again. We want to get it open as quickly as possible but it is a bit of a waiting game.

"At the moment we are just trying to get on with as much work as possible which doesn't need any planning permission."

The owners have their sights set on a grand reopening in the autumn. Whenever it does happen, former Hawley regulars including Amy Winehouse, Pete Doherty and Kelly Osbourne, will be forgiven for wondering if they are in a different pub.

New fire regulations mean a revamped Hawley must sacrifice some of its ground floor space to incorporate an outside staircase which will act as an emergency exit.

To make up for this, bosses of the pub on Castlehaven Road want to open up the badly damaged third floor as a new extension.

"It's a great plan we have got and I want the council to consent to it," said Ms Mottram.

"We obviously want to retain the feel of the Hawley as it was. What we don't want is for people to walk in and say this is not our pub.

"We need to make sure we are not losing trading space. We think it will look great."

The Ham&High understands the redesign of the pub has led to a dispute with the insurance company and brewery Greene King over who will pay for the works.

It has also been reported there are plans for a hotel and casino on the fire site behind the pub.

A spokesman for Greene King said: "We are desperate to get the pub back open and we are working hard to make that happen."

A spokeswoman for Camden Council said it is consistently one of the fastest planning decision-making boroughs in London.

"While there isn't a formal fast track system as such, we do deal with all applications very quickly and efficiently provided we are supplied with the right information upfront," she added.

"In the case of the Hawley Arms, there was a delay in getting the application registered because of missing information but we will now deal with it as soon as we possibly can, bearing in mind we have to wait by law for approximately three weeks for results of consultation to come through.

"We are however very aware of the urgent need to get the fire-affected businesses up and running as rapidly as we can."

ben.mcpartland@hamhigh.co.uk


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