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Campaigners lose battle to save Manor Park's Earl of Essex from redevelopment

PUBLISHED: 11:44 18 December 2018

MP Stephen Timms joined the SavetheEarlE12 campaign in February. Picture: Ken Mears

MP Stephen Timms joined the SavetheEarlE12 campaign in February. Picture: Ken Mears

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Campaigners have lost their year-long battle to save a historic Manor Park pub from being converted into flats.

The grade II listed Earl of Essex pub in Romford Road, which will soon house flats above. Picture: Ken MearsThe grade II listed Earl of Essex pub in Romford Road, which will soon house flats above. Picture: Ken Mears

An application was put forward in January to convert the Grade II listed Earl of Essex in Romford Road into nine flats upstairs and a pub downstairs.

During a planning meeting in April, councillors rejected the proposals on the basis they would “contribute to the erosion of the historic use of the site”.

In September, a new application was put in by the landlord, Yass Investments Ltd, which again proposed building nine flats upstairs and keeping a pub on the ground floor, but also assured the pub would be run by Brewit Microbrewery Ltd.

At a planning meeting on Monday, committee members voted to approve the plan, having conducted a site visit of the building a week prior.

Councillor Mas Patel, Katie Bilboa & Richard Williams, Amy Lamé, CAMRA’s Kim Scott, team Earl's Ife Okwudili & Jenny Duval, Newham’s deputy mayor Ken Clark and and Ed Bayes, City Hall's culture at risk officer. Picture: Earl of Essex campaignCouncillor Mas Patel, Katie Bilboa & Richard Williams, Amy Lamé, CAMRA’s Kim Scott, team Earl's Ife Okwudili & Jenny Duval, Newham’s deputy mayor Ken Clark and and Ed Bayes, City Hall's culture at risk officer. Picture: Earl of Essex campaign

Councillor Mariam Dawood, a vociferous supporter of the SavetheEarlE12 campaign, said: “We’ve expressed our concerns regarding material planning, design, parking, and an increase in air pollution in the area, but really what we have heard is quite surprising, in the fact that the pub company is planning to have greater consultation with the residents.

“That’s something we really warm to. There hasn’t been much communication over the last couple of months. I propose we work together to make sure this is a place which residents and community can enjoy and it doesn’t become another pub that closes down due to anti-social behaviour and crime.”

Campaigners repeatedly said they’d had little consultation with the Yass Investments and Brewit Microbrewery, but at Monday’s meeting, representatives from both companies assured this would change going forward.

Andrew Robinson, from the brewery, said: “We are happy to work with the local community with regards to demands and needs to make the pub a success. As far as we’re concerned this is what we’re intending to do and we’re more than happy to have dialogue with the local community about it.”

Campaigners had expressed concerns that a decent food offering hadn’t been promised, but Mr Robinson assured them food would be served during the evenings, at breakfast, and there would also be dedicated curry and fish and chip nights.

Speaking on behalf of the campaign, Laura Blundell said: “I appreciate the comments from Andrew so I feel like his statement addresses our calls. It’s noted that the dialogue we’ve had to date has been entirely driven by our side. This is an asset of community value so we believe this need dialogue. “It’s fine to have a dialogue once the planning application has gone through, but by that point it’s too late.”

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