‘Bonkers’ plans submitted to reopen Archway Tavern... with a nursery attached

Archway Tavern and the old public toilets outside have been brought back into the public spotlight.

Archway Tavern and the old public toilets outside have been brought back into the public spotlight. - Credit: Archant

Astonishing plans have been lodged to turn half of the Archway Tavern into a nursery – but still reopen the front half as a pub.

The shock proposals could mean Ofsted is called in to decide whether it is suitable to have people boozing next to a kid’s play school – and that could delay the return of the famous pub.

Owner Dr Imtiaz Sardar has lodged the plans after being told by freeholder Enterprise Inns he must re-open it as soon as possible following years of inaction.

That came on the back of protests over the continued closure of the iconic boozer, 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 square.

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

Whether anyone expected that meant changing the back of the building, currently a nightclub, into a nursery, is another matter.

The bid has been met with bewilderment by the Archway community, with one person calling it “totally bonkers”.

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Cllr Kaya Comer-Schwartz, who was at the meeting with Dr Sardar, said she and fellow councillors were “deeply frustrated” at the prospect of further delays.

She told the Gazette: “We have been working hard to encourage the leaseholder to reopen the pub, and are very disappointed it currently remains closed.

“This application is clearly a major change. In addition to planning permission, it could mean the need for a variation to the leaseholder’s current premises licence, or an application for a whole new licence. Ofsted may also need to take a view on the suitability of the premises for a nursery.

“This will take time, which may mean further delays in the pub reopening. We are deeply frustrated by the further delays to what should be a community pub, and we know local people will share our frustrations.”

CG Architects, representing Dr Sardar, told the Gazette the person dealing with it was too busy to speak to the paper and would call back when he could.

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