Local Camra campaigner warns nine Stonegate pubs across the borough face uncertain future, reports James Cracknell
The local branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) has warned that as many as nine Enfield pubs could be at risk of closure because of financial turmoil at their managing company.
It’s been widely reported this month that Stonegate Pubs, which manages, owns or leases some 4,500 pubs around the UK, is in deep financial problems after its owner TDR Capital revealed the need to refinance £2.6billion of debt.
Stonegate operates several pubs in Enfield and while there are no specific announcements about sales or closures to any of them at present, the pub protection officer for the Enfield and Barnet branch of Camra has warned nine could be at risk.
Phil Ridley told the Dispatch: “This news about Stonegate is distressing. I have identified nine pubs in Enfield that are at risk, in a borough that has a chronic shortage of public houses.
“In particular, closure of The Crown & Anchor [in Fore Street] and The Lamb [in Church Street] would result in there being no pubs between the A406 and Enfield Highway, as a result of this and Enfield Council’s irrational decision to allow the loss of The Picture Palace and to permit change of use of The Goat.”
A dearth of pubs in the east of the borough has arisen in the last decade after many were converted into restaurants, particularly in Ponders End which now only has a single pub – The Goat – which itself is subject to plans for conversion into a restaurant.
Phil has long been critical of Enfield Council for granting permission for pubs to be converted too easily and said: “Sadly, most parts of the borough will not be spared if no buyer [of Stonegate] is found or if the pubs are purchased by unscrupulous developers. A commitment from Enfield to protect its pubs may help to prevent developers from buying them up.”
While the Greater London Authority has a “strong” planning policy to protect pubs, a similarly strong policy in Enfield has been drawn up but not yet enacted because of delays in approving the borough’s new Local Plan.
Phil said: “It is incumbent upon Enfield’s planning department to finally take action to refuse planning applications for and to take enforcement action against the loss of pubs in the borough.”
He adds that high tax burdens on pubs are also “excessive” and need to be brought down.
In neighbouring Barnet borough, The Prince of Wales in East Barnet – owned by Stonegate – was recently earmarked for closure. It has prompted a campaign to save it, with more than 2,000 people signing a petition.
Neither Stonegate nor Enfield Council has responded to requests for comment.
Stonegate pubs in Enfield said to be ‘at risk’:
- Bird In Hand – 100 Tottenhall Road, Palmers Green, London, N13 6DG
- Bush Hill Park Hotel – St Marks Road, Enfield, EN1 1BA
- Crown & Anchor – 222 Fore Street, London, N18 2QD
- The Lamb – 52-54 Church Street, Edmonton, N9 9PA
- The Prince Albert – 611 Hertford Road, Enfield Lock, Enfield, EN3 6UP
- Chestnut Tree – 9 Aldermans Hill, London, N13 4YD
- Fishmonger Arms – Winchmore Hill Road, Southgate, London, N14 6AD
- The White House – 570 Hertford Road, Enfield Lock, Enfield, EN3 5SU
- The Queens Head – 41-43 Station Road, Winchmore Hill, N21 3NB