Licensee wins right to appeal flat development after lengthy battle

By Emily Sutherland contact

- Last updated on GMT

The pub has been a watering hole since 1624 and is a Grade II listed building
The pub has been a watering hole since 1624 and is a Grade II listed building

Related tags: Nightclub

An East London licensee is celebrating after winning the right to appeal against a decision allowing flats to be built next to her pub.

Pauline Forster, who runs Stepney’s the George Tavern, has been fighting a long-running legal battle against developers Swan Housing Group who want to demolish a disused nightclub next door. The licensee argues that the flats will prevent the pub hosting the live music it has become famous for due to noise complaints, and could lead to it losing its late night licence.


The Planning Inspectorate overturned the local authority’s decision to block the planning application in 2014. Forster took the decision to the High Court and lost, but won the right to appeal at an oral hearing held yesterday (18 February 2016.)

Important decision for pubs

James Ketchell, chief executive of Music Heritage UK, said publicans across the country should welcome the decision.

“The team at the George Tavern have a real chance of turning their situation into a test-case for the many venues and pubs where operators have had to deal with inappropriate developments putting their businesses at risk. Ultimately we hope that common sense prevails and that these flats are denied planning permission, so that the George can continue to serve its local community and provide a springboard for up-and-coming bands unhindered.”

Forster added: “We were not expecting to achieve what we did, I’m shocked and amazed. I’ve been fighting this for nine years and this is the last place you can go. I think that Boris Johnson’s rescue plan for live music venues and the attention the issue has received helped This is an important decision for pubs and for London.

A whole host of famous faces, including Kate Moss, Sir Ian McKellen and BBC Radio 2 DJ Jo Whiley, have pledged their support for the 600-year-old George Tavern.

Related topics: Legislation

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