Cally Road pub manager and TV star selling up
06:57 29 June 2012
A popular pub manager who starred in a major BBC documentary is selling up – after claiming her landlord, who was also featured, is making her life hell.
Eileen Christie, 53, stole the show on BBC2 programme The Secret History of Our Streets, which gave a snapshot of the history of Caledonian Road last Wednesday.
But now she is putting the lease of her Caledonian Road pub The Prince on the market, and blames land owner Andrew Panayi for causing too many problems.
She told the Gazette this week: “It’s been hell on earth since we opened in March last year. I bought a 15-year lease from him, but I don’t want him to be in my life for the next 15 years.”
Ms Christie has transformed The Prince since taking it on, building it up into a thriving community hub, and the regulars are desperate for her to stay. Mr Panayi, who owns scores of properties in the street, boasted on the show of flouting planning rules although he later said he has been following them for the last four years.
Islington Council said this week that he is under investigation “over a number of properties where he is suspected of breaching planning rules”, including flats next to The Prince, which he converted before planning consent was granted and which the council has concerns over, including sound insulation.
Tenants have complained about noise, which Ms Christie blames for her facing a £20,000 council fine. She said: “He’s the one who’s done wrong because he didn’t have permission to have tenants there, but I’m the one who is getting into trouble for it.”
Mr Panayi said: “We applied for planning permission before we started to build the flats. Work was started before the planning permission was granted, which is customary. Permission was eventually granted for one flat on appeal.”