Highgate regulars ‘over the moon’ as Winchester pub might be saved

Residents have won their fight to saveThe Winchester in Archway Road from being carved up into flats

Residents have won their fight to saveThe Winchester in Archway Road from being carved up into flats, for now. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A planning appeal for an extra flat in the 130-year-old pub has been dismissed as the inspector said it would make the pub unviable

The Winchester Hall Tavern in Highgate, a community pub whose regulars included Liz Hurley and Tom Hardy, was closed in 2014 when its owners retired after 32 years of running it.

Regulars still hope a thriving pub will reopen at the site now the space has been defended.

Consultancy firm GFO Capital bought the building and pledged to re-open the pub, although it still lies empty and derelict two years later.

They have since set to work turning the former upstairs hotel rooms into flats and already have planning permission for one flat on the ground floor, from the spinal wall of the building to the back.

The planning inspectorate has backed Haringey Council’s original decision and said it cannot build a second flat, which would mean the loss of the function and pool room.

Inspector Caroline Malloy took into account that the pub had been granted an “asset of community value” (ACV) status.

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She said: “The proposal would harm the viability of the public house, diminish the value of the pub to the local community and potentially result in the loss of a community facility.”

Chris Riley, chair of the Miltons Residents Association, said: “We’re over the moon. The community really joined together to put up a fight on the pub being overdeveloped. If it did open as a pub, people would go.”

Highgate councillor Liz Morris said: “This is a fantastic decision from the planning inspector who accepts that a reduction in the floor area of the Winchester will threaten the viability of this landmark pub. This was a hard-fought campaign and I am elated we won. It tells the developer in no uncertain terms to keep their hands off our pub.”

KR Planning, named as agent on the application form, said it was no longer working for the developers and could not pass on contact details.