Archway Tavern: Bizarre plans to re-open pub as wine bar and NURSERY are rejected

PUBLISHED: 15:46 21 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:46 21 August 2018

Archway Tavern and the old public toilets outside have been brought back into the public spotlight. Picture: Dieter Perry

Archway Tavern and the old public toilets outside have been brought back into the public spotlight. Picture: Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

Bizarre proposals to reopen the Archway Tavern as a wine bar with a nursery attached have today been rejected by council planners – who reckoned the joint uses would be “incompatible”.

The application from leaseholder Dr Imtiaz Sardar raised eyebrows when it was lodged in June because of their unusual nature, which would have meant Ofsted inspecting the building.

Dr Sardar had lodged the plans shortly after being told by freeholder Enterprise Inns to re-open the iconic pub as soon as possible following years of inaction.

That letter from the landlord came on the back of protests over the continued closure of the pub, which featured on the album sleeve of The Kinks’ Muswell Hillbillies.

It hasn’t opened its doors since a failed stint as rock venue The Intrepid Fox in 2014 and is now at the centre of the redesigned Navigator Square.

Dr Sardar and a business partner also met frustrated Islington leader Cllr Richard Watts and ward councillors in April and said their vision for the venue was for it to have more of a family focus.

But no-one thought that meant an actual nursery.

Islington planners said the proposals would mean the loss of a pub of community and heritage value.

“No evidence has been provided to demonstrate the current use is no longer viable as a public house,” they said. “This application seeks to remove this primary function which is unacceptable.”

They added: “The proposed change of use to a nursery and the retained drinking establishment use are considered to be incompatible uses within the same building.”

Officers also said the plans would harm the town centre and that there was “inadequate” access.

Community development chief Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz said: “Archway Tavern is an iconic landmark in the middle of the fantastic new public space at Navigator Square, and the community deserves for it to be re-opened as soon as possible as a community pub.

“The application proposed major and time consuming changes. I am relieved the council has refused the application, calling time on this bizarre proposal.

“We remain deeply frustrated that the pub remains closed and once again call on the leaseholder and freeholder to act quickly to see sense and reopen the pub in its former glory.”

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