CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Fears of another estate agent at Auntie Annie’s pub site

Owners of 1869 pub building say it cannot find any takers to run it as a bar or restaurant

15 November, 2017 — By Helen Chapman

The vacant pub in Kentish Town

A SHUT-DOWN pub with a history dating back to the middle of the 19th century will not re-open as a bar after the building’s owner said they could not find anybody interested in running it.

Residents now fear the former Wolsey Tavern, more recently known as Auntie Annie’s Porter House, on the corner of Kentish Town Road and Patshull Road in Kentish Town, could be converted into another estate agent. Documents filed at the Town Hall this week show that developers have asked planners to relax the rules which say the ground floor must be used as a restaurant or a bar, and allow financial services to operate there.

Caroline Hill, from the Kentish Town Road Action campaign group, said: “The danger here is another estate agent could move in. We already have 10 or 11 which has killed the high street. It is a bit surprising to hear the building has been claimed to be unsuitable for a restaurant. We would rather the building be used as retail or assembly and leisure instead – retail shops have been doing well in the area.”

The pub when it was Auntie Annie’s Porter House

While the site was being marketed, it is understood that restaurant chains such as Gail’s Bakery, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and the Caribbean chain Turtle Bay all viewed the site but have not followed up on their initial interest. Turtle Bay is thought to have had difficulty gaining a late licence.

In paperwork filed at the Town Hall, agents Planning Collective, working for the building’s owners Pad Living, said: “The proposal will seek to bring back a vacant property, enhancing the vitality of the town centre and contributing to both the local community and economy of Kentish Town.” The pub was originally called the Wolsey Tavern in 1869, then owned by the Truman’s Brewery.

Before it closed in 2014, it was known as Hoot N Annie’s and simply Annie’s Bar. New flats were added on the upper floors by developers in 2016.

Paul Seviour, the treasurer of the Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum, said: “We don’t like to see empty premises. Given that they have tried to let it without any success, we would rather it not be left empty but would prefer to have it open as a shop. “Kentish Town has enough estate agents and a new one is definitely not welcome. We seek to have diversity in the high street. A preferred outcome would be for it to stay as a restaurant.”

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