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Ricky Gervais and Peter Egan join campaign to save 300-year-old Hampstead pub

PUBLISHED: 09:00 12 December 2013 | UPDATED: 13:10 12 December 2013

Ricky Gervais at a gala screening of Ricky Gervais's new film The Invention of Lying, at Bafta in London. Picture: PA Images/Ian West

Ricky Gervais at a gala screening of Ricky Gervais's new film The Invention of Lying, at Bafta in London. Picture: PA Images/Ian West

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Campaigners have issued a rallying call to residents after plans were submitted by property developers to turn one of Hampstead’s oldest pubs into a six-bedroom luxury house.

Jessica Learmond-Criqui, of the Hampstead Shops Campaign, and Cllr Simon Marcus outside The Old White Bear. Picture: Nigel SuttonJessica Learmond-Criqui, of the Hampstead Shops Campaign, and Cllr Simon Marcus outside The Old White Bear. Picture: Nigel Sutton

The Old White Bear gastro pub in Well Road, which has been trading since 1704, could call a final “last orders” as soon as February.

A group of residents hoping to save the pub – which has the support of comedian Ricky Gervais and actor Peter Egan – has called on pub-lovers to make any opposition known by signing a petition and attending a protest this Saturday.

Only launched on Tuesday, the campaign has so far amassed over 450 supporters.

It also has the support of many Hampstead resident and business groups.

Supporter Jessica Learmond-Criqui, leader of the Hampstead Shops Campaign, said: “The community is getting teed up.

“It’s a community asset and a well-loved pub, and people are very upset.”

Restaurateur Jasper Gorst, who took over the Bear in 2010, told the Ham&High he had made several unsuccessful attempts to buy the freehold from debt-stricken Punch Taverns but it was instead sold to developer Braaid Ventures Ltd.

The new owner claims the building is not viable as a pub.

Saturday’s protest, complete with “white bears” and mulled wine, will start at noon outside Barclays Bank in Hampstead High Street.

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