Last orders no bar to Hoxton pub bid
- Credit: Vickie Flores/Archant
Regulars of a popular pub vow they have “not given up the fight” to save it – even though its doors seem to have closed for the final time.
Customers made their way to The Duke of Wellington pub in Nile Road, Hoxton, to mark its last night of trading – for now, at least.
Jason and Nicola Youngs have led the fight to keep it serving, and joined protesters against the closure on Saturday.
Mr Youngs said: “It was a bit emotional and sad to see it closing but the place was packed and everyone was determined to make the most of it.
“Everyone really enjoyed themselves and managed to stay upbeat about what the future holds for the pub.
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“It might turn out to be a long fight but there is plenty of support to ensure it reopens at some point.”
The pub, which has served the community for more than 70 years, was told it must cease trading by Saturday.
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Barmaid Christine Cummings told the Gazette: “It’s a real shame the place has closed as it’s like a little community in here. All the customers look after each other.
“I’ve also lost my job and I’ve been coming in here since I was 17 – long before I started as a barmaid.
“The pub has been getting a few more strangers in, too, as there are no more proper pubs left round here – they’re all gone.
“The pub was usually busy. People use it for wedding receptions and wakes.
“I had the wake for my dad in the pub last year. It means a lot to people.”
Mr and Mrs Youngs have also applied to Hackney Council to get the pub recognised as an “asset of community value” (ACV).
An ACV status is meant to give venues an added layer of protection from becoming sold and redeveloped.
If a landowner wants to sell an ACV, the council must be told first – and if a community group wants to buy it, they are automatically given six months to raise the cash.
A spokeswoman for Hackney Council said the council would decide about the ACV bid in March.
John Cryne, chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) North London, believes public support is vital in stopping pubs calling last orders.
He said: “There is a danger sometimes that people feel disempowered and that they cannot do anything. There is a feeling that Big Brother will trample all over them, but there are lots of examples of people stepping in stop their pub closing, but it’s vital people make their voices heard.”