Pub not new homes on our street says Homerton Campaign group

The Chesham Arms on Mehetabel Road in Homerton has been on the road for over a century. It’s particular charm is that it was one of the few remaining mid terrace pubs left in Hackney and before the era of gastro pubs, it was the sort of friendly neighbourhood watering hole locals from all walks of life gathered. Bankers on their way home from work, labourers, office clerks, ex-cons and even a local footballer who played for Spurs would rub shoulders with each other, or at least lean at the counter, as they ordered a pint or whatever else took their fancy.

However, the pub pulled it’s last pint in October when it shut its doors for good. The building is now owned by a property development firm, Ozkan Homes, who plan to turn it into 4 flats, but is facing opposition from a small group of locals who have began a campaign.

The group Save The Chesham Arms,  say it should remain as a pub and cite other nearby closed pubs  such as former The Duke of Wellington, which is now a Pringle Outlet Centre.  Local resident and Chesham Arms regular Jason Watson, recently told The Hackney Gazette: “Not only was the pub of great historical value, but it’s in an area of tremendous high potential with the forthcoming designer village, and I feel they’ve missed a golden opportunity.

“While they’ve made money from the sale, the premises is lying empty and this neighbourhood has been deprived of a much-enjoyed community facility.”

Tony Allen, Ozkan’s planning consultant told Hackney Hive : “I can confirm that at present we have not submitted any applications to Hackney. The scheme is currently being drawn up to convert the existing building to 4 apartments with almost nil/minimal changes to its external appearance especially its public frontage.  Mr. Allen added “We are aware that the site lies within a conservation area and is identified as a building of importance within that area and therefore, we feel it is imperative that the look of the building remains relatively unaltered.

“We have evidence in terms of the marketing of the building and also from the previous licence holder in writing advising that the public house was unviable. We have also undertaken an extensive search of the local area, identifying other public houses within easy reach of this site by foot.

“We are due to meet the local conservation group in mid-December and potentially the save our pub group at a similar time  – I doubt an application will go in until early in the New Year.”

In a recent response to the Save the Chesham Arms  group, Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe sent a letter which in part read:

It is important to make it clear that the planning process is a quasi-judicial one involving councillors making decisions within a strict rigid framework, and therefore if and when an application is submitted for this building, the Council will be obliged to consider it on its merits, in line with planning policies and regulations. It is not possible to state in advance what the outcome will be, and I must clarify that neither I nor Cllr Nicholson have any control or influence over individual planning decisions.

Simon Williams, the groups leader has said on their website “Although pubs are an iconic and integral part of our society here, this is about social interaction and local facilities. There are other places to meet in Hackney and in wider London and many of us do use them. However what if all the locals close? Eventually there will be nowhere left to get together”.

What do you think, Is a pub more important to the community than housing?  Feel free to comment below.



About Remi

Remi Hackney Hive founder, publisher and contributor. Hackneyite and all round Girl Friday who couldn't wait to leave Hackney and London behind her. After hitching her wagon in California, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana for 18 years, with a brief spell in Mexico, the prodigal daughter returned to London, happy to put an unconventional and risqué past behind her. It sometimes feels like she’s still at war with herself. This often leads her into a whole lot of trouble, although it’s fair to blame it on some of her best qualities: intelligence, original thinking, willingness to take risks, skepticism, rebelliousness, independence, and creativity. But you know what, much of the trouble she gets into is because she can’t help pointing out that the emperor is naked. Remi still lives by her own rules, nobody else’s. She is owned by her two dogs Deffer(a Jack Russell ) Darcy (a Jack Russell/Pomeranian mix now deceased but can’t remove their names) and two Black cats she adopted December 2021, Desmond and Tutu. She is proprietor of London’s finest and long established pet sitting service. The big smoke is home for the moment, but she desperately yearns wide open spaces, where she hopes to call home in the near future.


View all Posts Visit Website

2 Responses to "Pub not new homes on our street says Homerton Campaign group"

  1. Bit of a loaded question. We need both. You may as well ask “are developer’s profits or a community centre more important”. We could make a big dent in the housing shortage if we just built on the Marshes, Clissold Park and London Fields but it would make Hackney a worse place. Similarly, we need pubs and other bits of social infrastructure. The developers haven’t marketed the pub for very long. If they can’t run it as a pub then sell it to someone who can.

    Comment by Andrew Boff on 10/12/2012 at 12:20 am

  2. Both the Mayor and Councillor Nicholson have political responsibility for the planning policies under which applications are decided. If they wanted to, they could promote policies which would enable change of use applications such as this to be resisted. This is being done in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. See:

    Comment by Matthew Coggins on 10/12/2012 at 2:26 pm

You must be logged in to post a comment Login