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Bulldozer threat to historic pub as Pringle store in Hackney may make way for seven-storey shopping complex

11:36 07 March 2013

The Pringle of Scotland shop at the new fashion hub in Morning Lane.

The Pringle of Scotland shop at the new fashion hub in Morning Lane.

Archant

A historic former pub is at risk of being razed to the ground less than a year after it reopened as the iconic Pringle store, helping put Hackney on the map as a designer shopping destination.

Developers want to bulldoze the former Duke of Wellington, in Morning Lane, which opened as the factory outlet shop last autumn, to make way for a seven-storey retail space, design studios, a restaurant and a café on two sites.

Landowners Chatham Works and Manhatten Loft corporation – with support from Hackney Council – are billing the proposed scheme, which would span Morning Lane and Chatham Place, as “world class” and promise it would create hundreds of new jobs.

But the news has sparked anger among local residents concerned about the loss of a site of such rich historic and architectural value.

Environmental campaigner Martyn Williams said: “Losing a pub to a fashion hub was bad enough. Now to hear that developers plan to knock it down really rubs it in.

“The council need to make sure they protect local pubs such as the Duke of Wellington and The Chesham Arms, in Mehetabel Road. They were both proper local corner pubs.”

If planning permission is granted, the move would also see Aquascutum, of Chatham Place and Meade’s florist, of Morning Lane, bulldozed. Mr Williams added: “The back of Aquascutum is the former gravel pit chapel where Joseph Priestley, who discovered oxygen, preached. It dates from the 1850s. Also, the building with the florist’s is turn of century– the tower has a 1901 plaque.”

Nick Perry, trustee of heritage organisation The Hackney Society, said: “There has to be a sensible justification. It remains to seen what the heritage assessment says that fully justifies removing this quite charming pub.”

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Hackney’s cabinet member for regeneration, said the council supported the scheme to create jobs, help businesses and ensure the local economy continues to thrive ‘‘in a town we can all be proud of.’’

Harry Handelsman, chief executive of Manhattan Loft Corporation said: “We are incredibly excited about making the heart of Hackney an international focal point for the world of fashion.”

n The developers are holding public screenings next Wednesday, 2-7.30pm, at the Trelawney Estate Community Hall, Belsham Street, Homerton and next Thursday, 2-7pm, in St Luke’s Church, Woodbine Terrace, Homerton.

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