Arsenal pub Tollington Arms listed 'to prevent it being turned into flats'

Martin Whelan, landlord of the Tollington Arms in Hornsey Road, Holloway, with Akhil Vyas of the  Arsenal Supporters Trust

Martin Whelan, who has run the Tollington Arms in Hornsey Road, Holloway, for 15 years, with Akhil Vyas of the Arsenal Supporters Trust who applied for it to be listed as an asset of community value - Credit: Akhil Vyas

The Tollington Arms has been listed as an asset of community value by Islington Council, protecting it from being turned into flats by developers.

The move is expected to allow Martin Whelan, the landlord of the Hornsey Road pub that is popular with Arsenal supporters, to continue trading there. 

Mr Whelan has been threatened with eviction by his landlord KRNS Properties Ltd, having clocked up more than £142,000 in rental arrears during the coronavirus lockdown and subsequent restrictions because of the pandemic.

KRNS also put the pub on the market with Drivers and Norris for £3.3millon last October.

But some members of the Arsenal Supporters Trust were concerned the pub might be turned into flats, and the fan group applied for the pub to be retained under the Localism Act.

The council has now announced it will go ahead, because the pub "furthers the social wellbeing and social interests of the local community".

Akhil Vyas from the AST, which represents Arsenal fans, who submitted the application two months ago, is delighted at the news. 

He told the Gazette: "The pub provides thousands of fans somewhere to meet and enjoy the match day experience. Many pubs in the area have closed recently and it’s vital we keep the ones we have in existence.

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"We hear there may be a chance to appeal by the landlords, so although the council has agreed it's not quite a done deal - but hopefully the move helps the Tollington to remain a home for many Arsenal fans for years to come."

A "chuffed" Mr Whelan added: "Pubs are social hubs, and within a half mile radius over the last 10 years, we have lost at least eight. We are the only pub left on Hornsey Road.

"The really heart breaking thing is in the last 15 months, over 12,000 pubs have been lost that will never open again because of this pandemic.

"I want to reassure the community of Holloway we have no intention to go anywhere in the future. The Tollington Arms shall remain a pub forever."

Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn is also delighted with the council's decision.

"Martin is a huge asset to the community," he said. "This is the way we support each other in difficult times, getting together as a community."

KNRS Properties Ltd was approached for comment.