The Independent London Newspaper
28th February 2017

'Loadsamoney' comedian Harry Enfield faces battle with neighbours over plans to turn Primrose Hill pub into new family-sized house


    The Queens in Edis Street closed last summer

    Harry Enfield

    Harry Enfield: 'If the council do not give permission for change of use to residential, the option would be to look at some other change of use.' Picture: Damien Everett

    Published: 9 January, 2013

    LOADSAMONEY comedian Harry Enfield is set to turn one of Primrose Hill’s best known pubs into a luxury, family-sized house.

    Former regulars at the Queens in Edis Street say they are dismayed by the comic’s conversion plans for the property, which were filed last week at the Town Hall.

    And the landlord who ran the pub for 32 years before retiring last summer has joined the chorus of opposition, warning that the neighbourhood will be losing a vital part of the community.

    Mr Enfield, one of Britain’s best known comedy stars whose characters have included 1980s yobbo Loadsamoney, kebab shop owner Stavros, Wayne Slob and Kevin The Teenager, bought the watering hole last year but says plans to turn it into a restaurant have fallen through. It closed last summer with customers hoping it would soon reopen again as a pub.

    Mr Enfield’s plans scotch those hopes, although in a letter to neighbours he insists the decision to turn it into a family house was not taken lightly.

    “I have been a resident of Primrose Hill since 1988, my family since 1929,” said Mr Enfield. “My father was born in Eton Road, but my wife is a west Londoner and we moved there a decade ago. However, she has agreed to move back to the Hill in a few years when our children have finished at their schools. We bought the pub with the idea that we might one day live in the top floors and let the bottom floors to a friend of ours who was keen to run it as an all-day restaurant. Sadly, he has now decided he thinks it is too small to make financial sense for him to take it on.”

    He added in the letter: “There are two other pubs within 50 yards, four other pubs within 150 yards and six other pubs within 300 yards, we would imagine the council might think the loss of this one not to be too great, the compensation being greater tranquility.”

    Mr Enfield said: “If the council do not give permission for change of use to residential, the option would be to look at some other change of use but every other option would take time and stretch us financially. We would therefore look again to find tenants to run the Queens as an Engineer-style gastropub – a task that has so far proved to be not easy in these difficult times.”

    Objectors are hoping planners will throw out the application.

    Steve Collis, who has lived in Primrose Hill for 25 years, said: “Edis Street has a strong sense of  community. We’ve had two street parties here in the last two years and these and many other occasions have been anchored by the Queens, be it in the guise of a pub, restaurant, escape, community centre or gossip spot.”

    He added: “Since its closure there has been something of a sense of mourning, an unnerving silence and I am sure that I speak for many when I say that we long for some life on the corner.”

    The building has a pub on the ground floor with a basement for storing beers and a kitchen. Upstairs there is a home which includes a separate entrance, where the publican used to live.

    Its former landlord Tony Peters said the pub was a lively, going concern under his guidance.

    “I became a bit of a legend and I loved it. I still live in the area and people say hi all the time when I am walking my dog,” he said. “This is a great little street with a sense of community. People know each other and everyone would like it to remain a pub. It should not be changed into a house. It plays such an important role in the area: where are people going to meet, socialise, hold their celebrations, their wakes? McDonald’s? Starbucks?  It was a good pub with a good clientele, and it was successful.”

    Primrose Hill Lib Dem councillor Chris Naylor said: “It is a real shame and we will all rally round to save it. We will explore if it could be run as a community pub – there are successful examples of this happening elsewhere, and if we can run a library as a community venture, then why not a popular pub? It is time for us to get together and rescue the Queens.”

    Mr Enfield’s planning agent Alex Graham, who has helped draw up the plans, said: “The proposal is for the conversion of the pub floor space to residential as part of a reconfiguration of the property to provide a single family house. The large external store will be demolished to the rear to create a garden and the building extended at first floor (to the rear) and a new set-back mansard storey on the roof."



    Is this the same person?

    Interesting that an individual so vocal about the change of management at 'the Engineer' public house in Primrose Hill, thinks it totally acceptable to turn a local into luxury apartments. Clearly community responsibility only applies to others in Mr Enfields case!

    There has been a change in

    There has been a change in management in the Engineer - but it still does the same thing as it always has. If management at the Queens cared so much they wouldn't have sold it, and there would have been an outcry 8 months ago when it actually closed.

    The engineer is a destination pub that provides jobs, and a service to the local community with good food. The Queens was simply unable to compete in a saturated market.

    Lets wind down the hysteria

    Lets wind down the hysteria and look at the facts. There are 6 remaining pubs within a two block radius. Tell me how many other places in London have that many pubs in two blocks.
    This was a dying pub. There were a small number of people who frequented it. It didn't play any role in the community - it didn't host anything of value and therefore the punters voted with their feet. thats why it has been sold. SO yes this actually is an innovative use - it fits in with what is a residential area and is an intelligent use of what is a bit of an eye sore compared to the other pubs in the village.

    Please don't bring wealth into this discussion. It has 0 relevance. At least Harry is risking his money to do something that fits in with what residents want - just look at the submissions supporting its conversion!

    Queens Pub Edis street

    The U.K. has witnessed an huge increase in the closure of pubs in recent years. This trend, combined with independent shops being swept away and libraries being closed brings ever closer the destruction of communities.
    Public Houses. The clue is in the name. A place where people can meet.
    The proposed conversion of The Queens No1 Edis Street to a private dwelling would be seen as a betrayal of intention to the people who enjoyed, supported and sustained their "local" for the last 30 odd years.
    Surely someone wealthy enough to buy this premises could have a more innovative idea for it's future?

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