Traditional pub could become a healthy juice bar

Campaigners want council to halt plan

Friday, 2nd July 2021 — By Constance Kampfner

Duchess of Kent pub_credit @savingpubs

The old Duchess of Kent pub [@PubsSaving]

COUNCIL planners have been urged to stop a pub being turned into a new juice bar.

Healthy eating chain Ginger and Mint want to move into the Duchess of Kent in Prebend Street, Angel.

The bar has been closed since March 2019 and developers say they have had no luck finding anybody to take it on as a pub.

But campaigners say the idea of it being brought back into use should not be abandoned.

Joanne Scott, the pub protection officer from the Campaign for Real Ale North London branch, said: “Pubs create valued and meaningful connections, which reduce the risks of loneliness.

“Now more than ever we need to protect them, to help bring people together after such a difficult and isolating time.”

She added: “The Duchess of Kent is a beautiful pub, with original signage. It’s the kind of place that is disappearing across London.

“But with the right management it could be brought back.

[@PubsSaving]

“We would encourage Islington Council to reinforce their pub protection policy, to try protect the Duchess of Kent for the local community.”

Under Islington’s pub protection plan, developers have to prove they have tried to find a buyer for at least two years and there is no realistic prospect of the building being used as a pub before it can be converted into something else.

Ward councillor Martin Klute said: “We have a very robust policy to defend pubs. Any pub that wants to change to another use has to provide evidence that it’s actually been advertised, at what price and who has enquired about it.”

He added: “In this case, the applicant hasn’t submitted any real marketing evidence, so it’s unlikely to be upheld.

“A letter just saying they couldn’t do it won’t cut the mustard.”

Planning officers are expected to make a decision on the application in the next two weeks.

The Ginger and Mint application said that consultants had found that Londis had at one stage considered a convenience store for the site and there had been interest from people wanting to set up “gymnasiums, juice bars, up market coffee shops”.

But their report added: “In these two years of marketing no interest is being expressed in renovating and reinstating the existing public house.”

The application said the juice bar’s focus on healthy eating “will restore a beneficial use of the property and maintain its heritage, cultural, economic, and social value”.

It added: “The proposed change of use is considered to have a positive impact on the character and function of the area with reduced opening times and less propensity to cause noise or disturbance issues than a public house.”

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