One of London’s finest boozers, the Bull and Gate in Kentish Town is a prime example of how near a pub can come to closure. It has been shut for nearly a year, while we’ve worked very closely with both the planning and conservation departments to ensure we protect as many of the original features as possible. In fact, we’ve even agreed to undo some of the more recent modernisation changes that were made prior to our ownership.
Yet there is a misguided belief amongst some that we are removing the special Victorian features of this pub. Nothing, I repeat nothing, could be further from the truth. We are proposing to spend nearly £1.5 million to save this pub from closure. We’ve also responded positively to the planners and conservation requests to do some additional work at significant cost to us and we are very pleased to support their ideas.
So I want to underline to Kentishtowner readers that the Bull and Gate is safe with us. Young’s is a London pub company that has operated since 1831; and we own some of the most iconic pubs in the capital. We’re investing heavily in these old drinking palaces to ensure we keep them open. It’s our business.
With the Bull and Gate, we have been working alongside local heritage planners in order to ensure the significant investment we are making is done in a way which safeguards its authentic Victorian charm.
Unfortunately, despite all the positive comments we had from the council and, after nearly a year of working together to deliver a plan that was acceptable to both planning and conservation, we received confirmation on Monday (February 3) that due to a few local objections, it will now need to go to full committee. It would have helped if we were given that guidance nearly a year ago.
The end result? This pub will now remain closed for possibly another 12 months. Indeed, if planning is not granted, it may well be yet another north London pub that bites the dust. What a shame that would be.
We’ve all read of the many recent stories of pubs shutting all over London. Currently there are several pubs under the threat in the borough of Camden alone.
On too many occasions the same people protesting against closure can be the same as those causing so many pubs to close. Resistance to any change proposed in unviable pubs often leads to owners considering alternative use.
So yes, “no change” will sometimes result in pub closures. There are already enough challenges to the great British institution, “the pub”.
We cannot continue to resist change and at the same time demand through vociferous campaigns to keep a pub open. And far too often, the people that are the most vocal do not even frequent the place in question.
So to conclude, the work we’re planning will be carried out in a sympathetic manner and with the goal of retaining as many of the original features as possible, making the Bull and Gate one of north London’s most iconic pubs once again. We look forward to welcoming customers through its rejuvenated doors as soon as it is back up and running.
So what do you think about Young’s plans?