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Campaigners want Stoke Newington pub The Lion to be given protected status

PUBLISHED: 16:32 04 January 2017 | UPDATED: 16:32 04 January 2017

Furniture was removed from the function room before The Lion closed. Picture: Amir Dotan

Furniture was removed from the function room before The Lion closed. Picture: Amir Dotan

Archant

A campaign has been launched to give a Stoke Newington pub protected status over fears it could become yet another restaurant.

The Lion in Church Street closed at the weekend, though bosses remain tight-lipped over what the future holds.

Rumours have been circulating it could become the sixth pizzeria in a 300-yard radius on the street, while others claim it will become a more food-orientated venue. Staff have given the Gazette short shrift in our enquiries.

The speculation is because the pub was sold in November to Enterprise Inns and this week furniture was seen outside.

The boozer is hugely popular and its function room holds live music, life drawing classes, cabaret and comedy nights. To stave off threat of the 300-year-old pub turning off the taps, the Campaign For Real Ale (Camra) and heritage group The Hackney Society have called on the town hall to make it an Asset of Community Value (ACV).

That would mean the owners could not change the use of the building, though it could become more food orientated. Hackney Society director Nick Perry told the Gazette he didn’t know what the plans were, but the bid was to ensure it would stay as a pub

“There have been a few ACV pub nominations in Hackney lately, and we expect this one to succeed,” he said.

“It’s important because it’s a relatively un-gentrified pub by Stoke Newington standards and the large meeting and performance space is unrivalled locally.”

Beer writer of the year winner Pete Brown has also backed the application. He said: “Pubs have always been the hearts of our communities and this has never been as important as it is now, in rapidly gentrifying places.

“Pubs like The Lion stand as some of the only places where the whole community can feel welcome, like it’s their space.”

Enterprise Inns has been approached for a comment.

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