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Leighton Arms: Shelves are stocked despite council ordering developer to reverse pub conversion

Developers told by council to "permanently cease" the use of pub as a convenience store

20 June, 2018 — By William McLennan

Residents at the second of two street protests opposing the works 

STAFF today appeared to be preparing to start selling groceries from a Kentish Town pub which has been converted into a convenience store, despite an order from Camden Council to reverse the works and restore the site to its former state.

The Town Hall issued a legal notice to developers of the Leighton Arms this week, demanding that they “permanently cease use of the property as a retail convenience store”.

But the New Journal has learnt that the order does not have to be complied with until late-October.

Men wearing Nisa-branded jackets were seen carrying stock into the store on Wednesday morning.

The council intervention follows a series of protests by residents, who said that works, including the installation of “Nisa Local” signage, had been done without planning permission.

Sandhya and Sofiul Alam, who run the nearby Susan’s Mini Mart, at the junction with Leighton Road, said that they were “really shocked” to learn that council’s intervention would not come into force for four months.

They said it was “really disappointing” to see that the shop was “going ahead stocking and filling up the shelves”. They urged Camden Council to “take immediate action”.

Stock was carried into the shop on Wednesday

The enforcement notice does not take effect until July 27 and Bryanston Investments have until then to launch an appeal.

If they do not make an appeal, they will have a further three months to comply with the notice.

The notice demands works to the pub’s exterior must also be reversed.

It said: “The insensitive enlargement of historical of windows and removal of the traditional door is considered to have caused a visual harm, which has materially affected the character and appearance of the historic pub, shop front and street scene.”

It added that the developers had “not demonstrated that the use of a public house is no longer required or viable.”

Company director Martin Cramer said that he was waiting to hear back from the firm’s lawyers before he commented.

He previously said that the firm had “acted in good faith at all times and within the law”.

The New Journal was unable to independently contact the businessman who has bought the leasehold from Bryanston Investments, but Mr Cramer, speaking on their behalf, said that they too had no comment to make.

Councillor Danny Beales, the council’s regeneration chief, said: “Camden’s new planning policies strongly support and seek to protect our local pubs. The Council’s planning enforcement team has now served an enforcement notice requiring the use of the convenience store on the ground floor to cease and the changes made to the shopfront to be reversed.

“The owners have stated that they carried out the change of use as Permitted Development, however, the Council does not believe that the developer has complied with the relevant conditions. The owners of the property now have the opportunity to appeal the enforcement notice, but we hope they will instead seek to work constructively with the council and listen to local community concerns.”


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