Highgate pub gets the go-ahead to reopen

Local residents campaigning in 2019 to reopen old the Winchester Tavern, in Archway Road, as a pub.

Local residents campaigning in 2019 to reopen the old Winchester Tavern, in Archway Road, as a pub - Credit: Polly Hancock

The Winchester pub in Highgate has been granted a new premises licence by Haringey Council. 

The application was submitted by the Northern Union Pub Company, which has recently revived the fortunes of north London pubs The Albert in Primrose Hill, the Haverstock Tavern in Haverstock Hill, and Hampstead’s Old White Bear.  

At a licensing sub committee meeting on January 10, Sam Moss, director of the Northern Union Pub Company, and residents of the property joined councillors to deliver arguments on whether a licence should be approved. 

While concerns around noise and public nuisance were raised by neighbours of the Archway Road pub, on January 17 the licensing sub committee published its decision notice granting the licence, with conditions attached. 

These include a closing time of 11:30pm Sunday to Thursday and 12:30pm on Friday and Saturday, the installation of a digital CCTV system, and a "soft finish" of 30 minutes between the end of serving drinks and closing the pub. 

Sam said: “It’s good that the council has approved the licence and that it’s hopefully going to return as a pub, which again is testament to the local community campaigning to make sure that it had to reopen as a public house.” 

Regarding soundproofing, the decision notice says: “The committee acknowledged that the issue of soundproofing was primarily a matter between the residents of the building and the freeholder. 

“The committee considered that it would be preferable for the applicant, residents and the freeholder to work together to find a way forward but that such matters were beyond the committee’s remit.” 

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Ed Czechowski, who lives in a flat beneath the pub’s function room with his wife and two-year-old son, said he was “dumbfounded” that the licence had been approved. 

He said he feels the council has “totally ignored” the soundproofing concerns, and that they should have been included as a condition of the approval. 

On the suggestion that the issue is one for the freeholder and the residents, he added: “I just think it’s a very unfair request, and a very slapdash response from the council saying ‘you guys deal with it.’” 

When asked about immediate plans for the pub, Sam said: “In terms of next steps there isn’t really a timescale. We will just take things slowly from here.”