Oxford Arms to re-open after being closed for a decade
Pub closed for a decade is set to reopen – but neighbours fear new disturbance
10 February, 2017 — By Joe Cooper
The Oxford Arms, in Canonbury, was closed in 2007
A 160-YEAR-OLD pub that has been closed for a decade is to throw its doors open again next month.
The Oxford Arms in Halliford Street, Canonbury, closed when the smoking ban started in 2007. In the intervening years Islington Council has rejected plans to turn the building into flats and offices.
Now Phillip Clark, who has previously run a spa business in Manchester, is to open Halliford House, complete with a restaurant and cocktail bar, with business partner Sophie Jarvis, after a licensing committee approved their plan on Tuesday.
Residents in the neighbourhood say it is a residential area that has “outgrown” a pub and have concerns about noise and fighting.
“Obviously this is a residential street and we cherish our relatively quiet neighbourhood. There was a pub on that corner years ago and it was often loud and there were incidents of violence and hostility,” said one resident.
“These families have chosen to live in the area because it is safe and quiet and not plagued with the dangers of drink and disorderly people that are endured by properties that are closed to venues on Essex Road and Upper Street,” said another.
Phillip Clark, along with his business partner, is behind the new plan to reopen The Oxford Arms
But Mr Clark insisted they would be good neighbours.
“I honestly don’t think that is what’s going to happen,” he told the Tribune. “I don’t want a busy, nightclub-type bar.”
In a letter to the council, Mr Clark said: “By no means is this restaurant going to play loud music until the early hours, or attract an unfavourable crowd.
“Admittedly, the bar part of the restaurant will serve alcohol, but not in the way of a club. Instead we will offer a calm, collected yet sociable environment where a speakeasy, relaxed vibe will take hold of an evening.”
Mr Clark said there would be an extensive brunch menu and roast dinners on Sundays, and told the council he would close the downstairs off to act as an “after-school meeting place” for parents and children.
The upper floors of the building have been turned into flats, where Mr Clark hopes to move in.
The licence for the ground floor was still in place from Oxford Arms landlord Barry Watkins, and councillors granted the request for a licence for the basement.
Mr Clark told residents on Tuesday that, while he does not have experience running pubs or bars, his business partner, Ms Jarvis, has run three venues in Manchester.
There were no objections to the application from the police, public health authority or noise team.