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‘Unviable’ London pub wins CAMRA ‘Pub of the Year’ award six months after reopening

By Emily Sutherland , 21-Jan-2016
Last updated on 21-Jan-2016 at 14:39 GMT2016-01-21T14:39:22Z

Campaigners thanked locals for their ongoing support
Campaigners thanked locals for their ongoing support

Hackney’s the Chesham Arms has triumphed over nearly 600 pubs to win the East London and City Campaign for Real Ale branch’s Pub of the Year Award just six months after it reopened.

Locals fought for almost three years to save the pub after it was closed and facing redevelopment in to flats.

A spokesperson from the East London and City CAMRA branch said: “Pub of the Year award nominations come from our 1,600 members. Branch members voted the Chesham Arms as the overall winner. It’s a great result having only traded for six months and for a pub that was described as unviable.

“The community campaign to save it was well-documented and what happened next shows what many of us have grasped for some time - it’s the publican that really makes the pub.”

Pub protection officer James Watson added: “It’s really down to the licensee Joe Gooding. It’s chalk and cheese when you compare it to how the pub used to be. It was stuck in a time warp serving boring bland beers - now it’s a warm, welcoming pub showcasing the best contemporary British real ales. They can take in one evening what the pub previously took in a week.

“The support from locals has also been tremendous.”

Supporters of the pub, had just two months to transform the 150-year-old building - which was being used as office space - back into a community boozer. Developer Mukund Patel granted local Andy Bird a 15-year lease.

The Chesham Arms was one of the first pubs in the UK to be protected with an Article 4 Direction as part of the campaign to save it, which means developers have to apply for planning permission before they can change the use of a building.