London licensee launches pubco, second site to open this year

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Prince of Peckham: Clement Ogbonnaya plans to open five sites under his new pub group The Village People
Prince of Peckham: Clement Ogbonnaya plans to open five sites under his new pub group The Village People

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The licensee of an iconic London pub has launched a new pub group and is set to open his second site later this year to coincide with the football World Cup.

Clement Ogbonnaya, founder and licensee of the Prince of Peckham pub in south London, will open his sequel in nearby Tulse Hill called Queen of the South.

The Nigerian-born pub operator said his The Village People pubco will open five sites in five years with the belief every area deserves a local pub that champions the community.

The intention of the new pub group is to acquire old and disused pubs and regenerate them into stylish, welcoming and inclusive multifunctional community hubs.

Solution to gentrification

Ogbonnaya opened his the Peckham pub five years ago as a “solution to gentrification”, aiming to create a space for all people while a key focus of The Village People will be to educate its staff, customers and the wider community on local issues and challenges, as well as highlighting ways to make a positive difference.

He has purchased the Queen of the South site, which will be decorated with a lively theme, equipped with spaces for co-working and community meet-ups during the day and live events at night, and will house a games room and karaoke booth.

Ogbonnaya said: “I’ve worked in hospitality for 13 years and I’ve seen how the industry has changed throughout this time, both for the better and for the worse.

“While people are searching for a sense of belonging and community now more than ever, many British boozers have gone from being area hubs to laying empty and derelict, which is a tragedy. There’s a massive opportunity to rejuvenate the pub scene and bring them back to the heart of the community.

“Through Prince of Peckham and my new pub, Queen of the South, The Village People pub group will focus on hospitality over service. I’m excited to bring this ethos to my second pub in Tulse Hill – it’s an area with lots of promise and we’ve had a warm welcome from the locals we’ve already connected with.”

Lot of hurdles to overcome

Eva Arnaiz, who has recently been appointed to the group as community manager, has been tasked with developing a community outreach programme that will see the pub group support local businesses through event space, collaborations and grants.

Ogbonnaya previously revealed the difficulties​ he had in purchasing his first site. He told The Morning Advertiser​: “There were a lot of hurdles to overcome. I had to fall back and, in December 2016, I said ‘I’m just not going to do this anymore. I just can’t make it happen, it’s impossible’. At the time, a cousin of mine, who has passed away since, said ‘if you’re not going to do this, what are you going to do? You’ve put so much into this and this is what you’re meant to do’.”

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