A treasured pub and buildings around it earmarked for demolition have won a temporary reprieve after the community joined forces to save it.
Nominations to make The Prince of Wales pub in Lillie Road, Fulham, an asset of community value has resulted in Hammersmith and Fulham Council halting plans to knock it down by Earls Court developers Capital and Counties Properties PLC (Capco) .
The pub, which is hugely popular with Chelsea fans before and after games at Stamford Bridge, closed its doors in January.
But a group of community organisations and residents associations submitted five separate Asset of Community Value nominations on January 6 and 7. The local authority now has eight weeks to decide whether to grant it or not.
As a result, the Victorian-built street Empress Place, its parade of shops and the nearby Imperial Arms Pub, which is also on Lillie Road and had closed at an earlier date, have also been temporarily spared the bulldozer’s ball, getwestlondon has been told.
Support for protecting The Prince of Wales is also growing, with Labour, Lib Dem and Green London Assembly members writing to the council urging it to accept the nominations.
Among the groups who applied for listing was the Gibbs Green and Dieppe Close Residents’ Association. Chairwoman Diane Belshaw said: “A lot of people used the pub and it’s a great place for people to meet up, and not just to drink.
“It’s a very old building that doesn’t need to be demolished. But developers don’t care, they just care about money and making homes that will be unaffordable for local people.
“People think we only go there to drink but we don’t. We hold our meetings there, art groups used to meet there.
“People are angry and it would mean a lot to have it saved. I don’t see why it should be pulled down to make money.”
A 'winnable' fight
Another group which submitted a nomination was The Hammersmith Society. Membership secretary Rosemary Pettit said: “We have a record of this. We also successfully applied for registration for the Anglesea Arms in Wingate Road Hammersmith because pubs are disappearing at a fast rate, and they do have a community value and we really don’t want to see any more lost.
“Hearing this one was going to be demolished we applied for registration.”
Drinks industry expert and journalist Keith Barker-Main said the battle to save the pub was “winnable” and pointed to the prior success. He said: “I’m always interested in a community that wants to save pubs as an asset.
“The community managed to have The Anglesea Arms listed in Hammersmith and Fulham. This is a highly winnable fight.
“Pubs are part of our social fabric. Once these are gone they can’t be replaced. Many times developers say they’re no longer viable, but there are on expensive land and they want to sell for money.”
An H&F Council spokesman said: “It’s the council’s duty to consider the application on its merits and it would be improper to comment before we make a decision.”
Capco said: "As part of the regeneration of Earls Court, we are focused on bringing forward exciting and ambitious plans for the future of Lillie Road and Empress Place.
"We continue to work with our local authority partners to explore ways of accelerating the development and minimising disruption for local communities. We will shortly publish plans for Lillie Road and Empress Place that are in keeping with the quality and scale of ambition of the Earls Court Masterplan.”