Community backs campaign to save The Birkbeck Tavern in Leytonstone
A COMMUNITY has rallied behind a campaign to save a beloved pub from becoming a block of flats.
The Birkbeck Tavern in Leytonstone is currently on sale for £575,000 after owner Sarumdale Ltd went into administration in June and staff said most potential buyers who have visited the building have been property developers.
But at a packed meeting of 65 people at the pub in Langthorne Road last night (September 25) Leyton MP John Cryer’s representative and Leyton Orient supporters, for whom it is their local, vowed to oppose any application to turn it into housing, while Waltham Forest Council suggested it would refuse any such bid and said it plans to make the 132-year-old building locally listed in November.
Planning officer Gordon glendy said: “It’s safe to say the local councillors would resist that quite strongly. [The planning committee] would probably refuse that.”
Now 2,030 people have signed a petition to stop it being turned into flats, and campaign organisers hailed the backing the initiative has received.
Save Birkbeck Tavern campaign chairwoman Greer Nicholson said: “I’m overwhelmed by the amount of support that’s come from many different people in the community. It’s incredible to see how many people this has affected.”
Petition organiser Jess Dickenson, 33, who lives just a few doors down from the pub, said they would also press ahead with an attempt to get the building nationally listed by English Heritage, which she claimed would deter developers because they could not demolish the structure.
She added that they will do this despite an offer from a mysterious publican to buy the pub, which has not yet been accepted by the administrators.
She said: “It’s not a done deal yet. We’re still in no man’s land. I think the signs are positive but people don’t know what the plans might involve. If we knew who the publican was it might be a different story.”
The pub recently reinvented itself as a music venue and has been growing in popularity.
A one day music festival at the pub, called Birk Fest, is set to take place on October 28.