Anger over second bid to demolish pub in five years

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Frustrated residents: campaigners are fighting plans to develop the site of the Queensbury
Frustrated residents: campaigners are fighting plans to develop the site of the Queensbury
Residents behind a campaign to save the Queensbury pub in Willesden Green, north London, are frustrated at a second attempt to develop the site in the past five years.

The pub, situated within what was the snooker hall of a 19th century constitutional club building, was purchased from the Conservative Association in 2012.

In 2014 permission was refused for the demolition of the existing building and construction of 53 flats and a 340 square metre pub and community facility within a two to ten storey building. 

Plans to redevelop the site situated at the edge of a conservation area – which are designated for their special architectural and historic interest – were previously refused by Brent Council, with an appeal by developers also turned down in March 2015.

Following the decision, the site changed hands again and has been the subject of new development plans by Redbourne (Queensbury) Ltd, which has submitted a plan to demolish the existing building, including the Queensbury, and replace it with a five-storey block comprising 48 flats.

A public consultation on the development was held in October 2017, with a meeting also hosted at the council which residents behind the Save the Queensbury​ campaign were invited to observe.

While Redbourne has included plans for a pub and community space on the ground floor of the development, according to the Save the Queensbury​ campaign website, residents maintain that any financial return provided by the new development could be realised by retaining the current, historic building – seeing the plans as an example of profit outweighing conservation and community need.

A spokesperson for Save the Queensbury​ commented: "It's just frustrating that they're pushing for more and more flats and to utilise every little bit of land because we've got a housing shortage. It seems to be at the expense of community.

“This is our only community building – it's an historic 1890s building – which sits in the corner of a conservation area and it's got a community pub that does everything it should do to stay afloat.”

The building currently hosts a babies and toddlers group five mornings a week which, according to residents, hasn’t been mentioned in redevelopment talks thus far.

Need for conversation

The spokesperson added: “It just seems to be railroaded by the desire for more flats and it's unfortunate that the council has been working behind the scenes to predicate that rather than have a conversation about how we can reach compromise and keep the building as well.

"Our best hope now is to go to the planning committee of members and say 'we're residents, we can provide the other side, like we've done before, and remind you of what was said at the appeal, because we're not convinced that the officers or the developers will give the full portrayal of what was agreed'."

With the formal application submitted, and a two-week public consultation under way, supporters of Save the Queensbury​ have been encouraged to write to Brent Council with their objections rather than rally behind a petition.

“When it gets to the council, a petition is only counted as one objection. What we're doing is putting our efforts into getting people to write to the council themselves with the reasons."

A Brent Council spokesperson commented: “As with any planning application, local feedback will now be gathered through a consultation which will be carefully considered when a decision is made.”

The Morning Advertiser​ has contacted both Redbourne for comment but has not yet had a reply.

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