Local residents and politicians have rallied to protect The Prince of Wales after it was earmarked for closure, reports Grace Howarth, Local Democracy Reporter
Local residents and politicians have launched a campaign to save the last pub in East Barnet.
The Prince of Wales in Church Hill Road has been earmarked for closure by its owner, Stonegate Group, which looks set to close many of its pubs around the UK as it faces “financial difficulties”.
East Barnet councillors Phil Cohen, Simon Radford and Edith David, along with Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Chipping Barnet Dan Tomlinson, launched a campaign to save what they say is a “landmark” in the local area.
An application has now been made to have the building listed as an ‘asset of community value’ (ACV) to prevent it being sold and repurposed as something other than a pub.
While Stonegate’s financial troubles are well known, the reason why The Prince of Wales – which dates back to 1876 – has been singled out specifically are “shrouded in mystery” according to the councillors.
Rob White, a member of East Barnet Residents’ Association (EBRA), has collected evidence and testimony from locals to highlight the pub’s importance to East Barnet. A petition to save the pub currently has over 2,100 signatures.
Cllr Radford said the pub’s longevity was part of the reason it should be valued and added: “We celebrated my own son’s christening with a pub lunch at the Prince with our extended family. East Barnet Village needs community assets where residents old and new can come together.”
Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers recently joined campaigners from EBRA outside the pub to show support and has also backed the East Barnet councillors’ ACV application.
The Tory MP said: “I am chasing Stonegate to try to find out more about their plans and to urge them to keep the pub open until a buyer can be found to keep it going.”
However, Dan Tomlinson drew a line between the pub’s closure and the current government’s “mismanagement” of the country. He said: “The underlying cause of pub closures is clear to see. Rising prices, a weak economy, and high business rates have created a toxic combination for our high streets and local businesses.
“We need a Labour government to end Conservative economic mis-management and to put some fresh thinking into how we can support the local economy and keep more pubs open.”
Cllr David reiterated the pub’s value as a “landmark” and said: “To lose such a community treasure will be devastating to families in an already difficult time with the cost-of-living crisis. It’s a pub that has provided a living for hard-working publicans, generations of staff, and suppliers that rely on their custom.”
Reacting to the local support, Cllr Cohen said he was “pleased” with the “overwhelming” response to the petition and added this proved the building’s “deep value”.
Stonegate was approached for comment but has not responded.
The petition to save The Prince of Wales can be found online: