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Nursery project at Archway Tavern a major blow to campaigners

Owner rules out possibility of historic Archway building reopening as a pub after filing ‘family orientated’ proposal at the Town Hall

08 June, 2018 — By Emily Finch

The Archway Tavern closed down four years ago and has remained vacant ever since. Photo: Jovike on flickr.com

THE owner of the historic Archway Tavern said the pub will “definitely be no boozer” after he revealed plans to convert half the building into a nursery.

The proposal filed at the Town Hall on Monday is a major blow to campaigners who have fought to reopen the building as a pub.

The Kolis nightclub at the back of the building will be converted into the nursery, while the ground-floor space will become a restaurant or a bar.

Long-term leaseholder of the Archway Tavern, Dr Imtiaz Sardar, said the project was “family orientated, community friendly”.

He said: “The front would be a bar/restaurant, definitely no boozer. You might have noticed The Lion pub across the road was closed and converted into Starbucks. Because of the price of beer in the supermarkets, the pubs have been in decline.”

On the addition of a nursery, he added: “All the stakeholders are aware of our plans and have no objection. The relevant regulatory authority, Ofsted, is dealing with this application for a nursery. People in the community have been sounded out and they all welcomed it.”

The pub closed down four years ago and has remained vacant ever since while the area surrounding it has seen a £13million facelift.

Ward councillor and cabinet member Kaya Comer-Schwartz said: “We are deeply frustrated by the further delays to reopening what should be a local community pub, and we know local people will share our frustrations.”

She added: “As local councillors, we have been working hard to encourage the leaseholder to reopen the Archway Tavern, and we are very disappointed that it currently remains closed. It is an iconic landmark in the middle of the fantastic new public space at Navigator Square. In the last few months, we have written to both the leaseholder and freeholder about the situation and then subsequently met with the leaseholder to urge them to bring the pub back into use as soon as possible.”

She said the plans were “clearly a major change” which could see further delays in the pub re-opening.

“In addition to planning permission, these changes could mean the need for a variation to the leaseholder’s current premises licence, or require an application for a whole new licence,” said Cllr Comer-Schwartz. “Ofsted may also need to take a view on the suitability of the premises for a nursery.”

The Archway Tavern dates back to the middle of the 19th century and was an important socialising hub for members of the Irish community in the borough.

The interior of the pub even featured on the cover of the Kink’s album Muswell Hillbillies back in 1971.

A Town Hall planning committee will decide on the plans for the tavern in the coming months.

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