‘Souvenir hunters remove sign’ from Chapel Market Manze’s
Developers struggle to lease old pie shop because of listed building restrictions
09 June, 2020 — By Calum Fraser
THE owners of the iconic former Manze’s Pie Shop say “souvenir hunters” may have stolen the original store sign, as they struggle to sell the premises due to listed building restrictions.
The Chapel Market establishment has sat empty since it was closed last year to the distress of hundreds of customers who lined the Angel street to get their hands on the last pies sold there after more than 100 years of business.
Spring Valley Developments (SVD), who own the shop, submitted an application to Islington council to alter part of the interior of the Grade II listed building and “regularise the removal” of the M.Manze sign outside.
In the planning statement SVD’s agents said: “At present the owners are in a quandary, because one cannot put up a sign without knowing the name of an occupier. For this reason, the application seeks to regularise the removal of the old sign, which had been taken down by unknown persons –probably souvenir hunters.”
The applicants also sought to remove some of the seating located at the back of the shop and construct a new wall and toilet.
But the application, submitted in March, was rejected last Monday June 1 – something that is likely to infuriate the owners who are struggling to lease the property.
More than 300 “potential tenants” have shown an interest in the place since it was put on the market in 2017 with about 90 site viewings – according to a letter written by a marketing agent working to sell the building on behalf of SVD.
They added that “most potential tenants” concluded that the condition of the property together with the “heavily restricted listing” (which protects all the original booth seating, marble tables and counter, wall and floor tiles, lights and ceiling panels) would prove “too inhibitive and costly to sustain the investment required”.
The property also lies within a “stress area” and many potential tenants drew the conclusion that they would be “unable to obtain a suitable premises licence from the Local Authority”.
In April 2018, the owners got as far as exchanging contracts with an “experienced bar operator”, at an annual rent of £60,000, with an eye to turning it into a drinks venue.
But a few months later bar operators pulled out citing “difficulties in obtaining the premises licence and Listed Buildings consent”.
There have been no offers since.