Manor Park couple says no to pub’s last orders
PUBLISHED: 10:44 28 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:24 28 February 2018
A Manor Park couple are campaigning to save their beloved Earl of Essex pub in Romford Road.
Richard Williams, 31, and partner Katie, 33, set up a Twitter page at the beginning of January after being “fed up” of walking past the derelict Grade II listed building.
It’s since gathered the support of 300 people, including MP Stephen Timms, and the couple are due to meet London’s night czar Amy Lamé to discuss plans this week.
“We moved to the area in 2016, around the time the current owners bought the premises,” Richard said.
“We kept walking past, seeing this beautiful empty building, and thought enough was enough.
“There aren’t enough pubs in Manor Park and we thought it could become a family friendly place, not just some grimy boozer.”
The pub closed in 2012 and has stood empty since. A planning application released in January seeks to extend the upstairs and turn it into flats while keeping a pub downstairs, but Richard and Katie are sceptical about the owner’s commitment to this promise.
“We don’t object to the development, although we don’t think the extension is in proportion to the existing building,” Katy said.
“It’s about it being the right kind of development. There are two brewers mentioned in the planning application, but they don’t seem committed to this pub and we know of similar cases to this which have just fallen through.”
The application has more than 40 comments from Katie and Richard’s supporters.
MP Stephen Timms said: “With Crossrail coming to Manor Park Station just a few yards away, it has the potential to be a great local venue once again.
“We need to avoid changes now which, while they might suit some short term objective, would damage the long term prospects of the Earl of Essex being a great venue at the heart of the Manor Park community.”
Mark von der Heide from Schema Studio, the application’s agent, said: “I know the owners are in talks with two potential pub operators, but there hasn’t been a contract signed, it’s not that far yet.
“There are a lot of listed features in the pub and bar which can’t be changed, so as far as I know the intention is to keep it a pub.”
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