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Hundreds join battle to save pub ‘at heart of community’

Regulars at the Two Brewers, off Caledonian Road, launch petition opposing demolish-and-rebuild plans

21 December, 2018 — By Calum Fraser

Regular Gary Jay and campaigners’ spokeswoman Jan Harfield

PUNTERS are fighting to save their award-winning pub after developers revealed plans to bulldoze it.

Regulars at the Two Brewers pub, off Caledonian Road, have launched a petition, already signed by more than 300 people who oppose demolition.

Four Brewers Limited (FBL) wants to knock down the building in Roman Way and replace it with a new bar on the ground floor and basement, and flats on upper floors.

Jan Harfield, a spokeswoman for the committee set up by regulars battling the plans, said: “This is very much a community pub. There are people who have been coming here for 30 years. We all pitch in and help each other out.

“If the application is given the go-ahead they will be tearing the heart out of a community.”

FBL, which has managed the building since 2011, bought the freehold last year from Ei Group. It employed manager Linda Evans, who runs the pub.

Pub Sessions, an organisation which reviews bars, named the Two Brewers as the Best Public House of the Year 2018.

Ms Harfield, 61, said: “The pub acts as a social club for some of the old boys locally. We look after them, do some shopping for the ones who are less mobile. We take them home at night if they’ve had a few too many.

“It’s a very-well-used pub. It’s how they used to be. Everybody knows everybody else.” She added: “We’re worried that the new pub is going to be some kind of wine bar or trendy place where we don’t feel welcome.”

Seth Harfield working behind the bar at the Two Brewers

FBL director Steven Govier has said the firm would consult regulars on the pub’s “internal decoration and design”.

Father-of-two Martin O’Mahony, a regular for 36 years, said: “The place needed a new lick of paint two years ago and a few of the old boys gave their time to do it.

“We’ve got Perfect Street in the beer garden, dedicated to Micky Perfect. He decided to sort the garden out one day. He painted it and made the place what it is now. He died two-and-a-half years ago, so we named it after him.

“Old Bob, who must be about 77, takes care of the flowers and pots. He prunes and waters them.”

Mr Govier, who grew up in Islington, said: “We are committed to securing the Two Brewers pub legacy for another 100 years. We employed Linda Evans, who has done an amazing job in turning the pub around.”

He added: “We have worked with Islington Council and the local police to get the pub back on track.

“We have offered to meet all community members and are awaiting a date.

“We completely understand the application came as a surprise because this was initially told to everyone seven years ago, but it took six years longer to purchase the pub and get the planning in.”

He added: “Our door, like the pub’s, is always open.”

A Town Hall spokesman said that the council did not comment on active planning applications.

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