Future of historic Homerton pub hangs in the balance following inquiry

The future of a protected 19th century pub hangs in the balance following a high stakes public inquiry.

The Chesham Arms on Mehetabel Road, Homerton, has been closed for nearly two years and is at the centre of a long stand-off between the Churchwell Residents’ Group and a property developer, Mukund Patel, who now owns the pub.

Backed by Hackney Council, the residents have been fighting to save the popular boozer and at the moment there is an order on the property which means the flat above the old pub cannot be rented out separately to the downstairs area.

Evidence was provided by both sides to the Planning Inspectorate at the town hall on September 10 and they must now wait for a verdict which could take months.

Martyn Williams, member of the resident group campaigning for the Chesham Arms, said: “Ideally, the inspector would come back and say the council were absolutely right to seek to protect the pub and it would be wrong to redevelop it as it would be a loss of social and community function.”

Last year it became the borough’s first asset of community value (AVC), meaning the owners could not convert the pub into housing or sell it without first offering community groups the chance to buy it.

At the moment, the ground floor of the building is offices while the flat above remains vacant.

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Mr Patel’s planning consultant, Tony Allen, said: “We are hopeful the inspector who heard our appeal will quash the enforcement notice on the Chesham.

“What would happen to the ground floor after that we haven’t really thought about recently as in the inquiry has been ongoing.”

This is the first time the pub has been closed for a prolonged period since it opened in the 1860s and it still has hanging baskets outside.

Mr Williams said: “Because they haven’t been watered for years they just look dead and sad.”