Wether to celebrate new Crouch End pub or not?

Crouch End community seems split over whether Wetherspoons is a welcome addition to the local pub scene

IT’S the debate that’s divided the Crouch End community – is Wetherspoons a great cheap addition to the local pub scene or a blot on an otherwise largely independent High Street?

Since it was announced a Wetherspoons was to fill the Broadway unit left empty by the closure of All Bar One after 13 years at the site, the debate has raged both on the streets and amongst the online community about whether the pub is a welcome addition to the area’s social scene.

While some welcomed the cheap food and drinks chain, others raised concerns about extended opening hours, increased anti-social behaviour and whether the bar “fitted” in the high street. Others dismissed the debate as “snobby”.

The pub, called Devonshire House – the original name of the site prior to 1910 – had its “soft opening” at the weekend, giving residents a chance to try out the bar’s food and drink free. It officially opened its doors on Tuesday morning.

Manager Stuart Marden said he was aware of the controversy, but was looking forward to greeting the community.

“We are excited because we have had some positive feedback – we are going to offer something to the area it has not really got,” he said.

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“It’s quite a competitive area so we may be strong competition for a lot of people but we are quite interested in working as part of the community and working with everybody – that’s a big thing for us.

“You can’t please everybody, but we will try our hardest to. I’m just glad there’s a lot of talk to be honest and if there are any doubters, we are here to prove them wrong.”

Manager at the Queen’s Pub, Danielle Cruickshanks, raised some concerns saying: “We were not particularly concerned as we feel we cater to a different clientele. But personally, I don’t think it’s particularly good, I don’t think it matches the area.”

And local councillor Lyn Weber said only time would tell how the chain would fit in.

“I understand there are some concerns and we will just have to see what happens – the jury is still out,” she said.

“I am sure the management will do their best to fit in with the community, but the concerns surround whether we end up with yobbery as a result.”

On social networking site Twitter @HHBroadway a discussion on Wetherspoons quickly split into two camps.

Graham White tweeted: “Don’t really see what all the fuss is about; I’d say having a KFC here is worse than Wetherspoons,” while on the other side of the fence Becky Cotton said: “I think it’s awful – the Broadway’s a poorer place for that kind of rubbish.”

Some took a more humorous view of things. Iain G. Morrison joked: “Crouch End has a Wetherspoons? Can’t believe that got through the local residents’ committee...”

Local campaigner Keith Flett added: “Depressed reading Crouch End incomers tweets about new Wetherspoons. Don’t they know Crouch End was the location of one of the first Spoons?”

It is rumoured the chain has long been on the lookout for a base in the area after selling off the first ever Wetherspoons pub in Muswell Hill more than 20 years ago.

The company has spent �625,000 refurbishing the site and says the opening will create 50 new jobs.

What do you think? Tweet @HHBroadway or use the hashtag #CrouchEndWetherspoonsdebate