New owner of the Dartmouth Arms Andy Bird
Published: 5 August, 2016
By DAN CARRIER
THE new owner of the Dartmouth Arms pub collected keys to the empty local yesterday (Wednesday) and announced he is considering a crowdfunding initiative that would allow regulars to buy a share in the business.
The pub, in York Rise, Dartmouth Park, served its last pint in January 2015 after 174 years of continuous trading while pub chain Faucett Inn began work to convert upper floors into flats.
The ground floor and cellar area were put on the market for £1.8m but, despite plenty of interest, no lease was signed.
New owner Andy Bird, who has begun a three- month refit, told the New Journal: “I am considering a crowdfunding system so locals can directly invest in the Dartmouth.”
This would allow the pub’s supporters to feel a sense of ownership, and help protect it in the future, he added.
He has been celebrated within the pub trade for rescuing the Chesham Arms, in Homerton, after it was turned into flats and offices by property developers.
After a High Court battle, Mr Bird took over the ground floor of the pub and has restored it to its former glory.
Outlining his vision for the new Dartmouth Arms, Mr Bird said his firm is run “democratically,” with all staff paid the London Living Wage. The focus would be on serving local beers with pints priced at under £4.
He added: “We want good beers, good wines and we will do great Sunday roasts, but above all we are about running a good local pub based on a traditional model. I know how important this pub is to the neighbourhood. I know people feel it was being run into the ground but I am convinced everything is there to make it a brilliant pub, at the centre of its community once again.”
He is planning to run a pop-up bar to meet his new neighbours at the annual York Rise street party in September, where he will reveal details about the crowdfunding plan.
Sean Dillon, from “Save the Darty” campaign group, said: “It is fabulous. The community is overjoyed to hear this and we will give the new owners all the support they need. We like the idea of crowdfunding so people can support the business.”
Highgate ward Labour councillor Oliver Lewis, who has been instrumental in saving the pub, added: “It should encourage other neighbourhoods who have lost their pubs to keep fighting.”