October 23 2014 Latest news:
by Syma Mohammed
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Pub-goers are heartbroken about plans to bulldoze a 148-year-old hostelry to make way for a block of flats.
The Prince Edward pub on the junction of Wick Road and Barnabus Road in Homerton is a popular watering hole.
It hosts birthday parties, wakes, the Hackney Pool League and local bands, with customers ranging from 30 to 85.
However, last month the owner applied to the council to turn it into a five-storey building with nine flats and two commercial units.
Pub manager Audrey Bruce, who runs the pub with her 74-year-old father, said: “It’s a community-based pub which caters to people of all cultures.
“I feel a bit heartbroken. I know it’s the only thing that keeps my dad going. My mum passed away four years ago and this gives him a reason to live.”
Regular Brian McCrae, 64, a former builder who lives in Barnabus Road, said of the plan: “It’s terrible. This is the only facility we have round here. It’s a friendly place with people of all races mixing together.”
James Watson, local pubs’ preservation officer for the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said: “The E9 (Hackney Wick, South Hackney and Victoria Park) area has lost 53 per cent of its pubs over the last 30 years.
“The pubs that remain need to adapt to survive and remain relevant. It seems to me that the Prince Edward is very relevant and popular among the West Indian community. It’s a well managed important community facility which has been there for 148 years. I would be disappointed to see it close.”
However, owner Sandeep Singh Johal defended the proposals.
He said: “The pub is going to be demolished. It’s got some subsidence. It’s not safe even to repair the building and all the foundations. I want to open Geneva’s nightclub up the road as a pub and move everyone there if Hackney Council shape up their act and give me a licence.”
The council is yet to make a decision on the proposal but comments can be made on the application until Monday.