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All bets are off as People Power beats Paddy Power in Forest Gate

PUBLISHED: 16:00 11 February 2012 | UPDATED: 08:42 12 February 2012

Former Duke of Fife pub in Forest Gate: What does its future hold? Photo by Steve Poston

Former Duke of Fife pub in Forest Gate: What does its future hold? Photo by Steve Poston

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» It’s official. All bets are off for a new development in Newham.

And it’s a case of...for Paddy Power read People Power as the betting shop chain’s bid to add the former Duke of Fife pub in Forest Gate to their empire was beaten off by local residents.

Even the protesting community admitted surprise last week when the Town Hall’s planning councillors rejected Paddy Power’s proposal to convert the huge pub on Katherine Road into a licensed betting shop.

Community

The watering hole has been closed to drinkers after a double murder outside its adjacent Sugar House nightclub in May 2010.

At the council meeting in East Ham and backed by community police a residents delegation objected to the conversion plans.

Apart from having a betting shop close by they said they feared crime and anti social behaviour, including drug dealing, especially with schools nearby.

The company countered by stressing to councillors that under their plan the new betting establishment would boast CCTV cameras, security, well trained staff and direct contact with the local police if trouble occurred.

One complainant told the Recorder that the neighbourhood has been “blighted by drug dealing, and has previously been the subject of a police Dispersal Order.”

The rejection of a licence, he said, came as “much to the relief of those hundreds of people who had signed a petition against the proposal.”

Congratulations

Monega Residents Association chairman Bob Rush sent his congratulations “to all those local people who stood up for what they believed in.”

He added: “It is not often that people power actually delivers, but on this occasion it did.”

He said if the Fife was to re-open as a pub it will be further back than square one.

He called for the building to be transformed in to a useful facility like the base station of community policing that would transform the ambience of the area.

“But such lateral thinking never seems to happen”, he added.


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