East Barnet residents welcome plans to redevelop pub site more than a decade after closure

The Jester shut in 2013 and burned down in 2018 but has been left as a charred shell since then

The derelict Jester pub site in East Barnet
The former Jester pub in East Barnet (Credit – Cllr Simon Radford)

Community campaigners in East Barnet are celebrating after the owners of a pub that has been closed for over 10 years submitted plans to redevelop the site.

The Jester opposite Mount Pleasant roundabout shut in 2013, and burned down in 2018, but has remained as a charred shell in the middle of the Bevan Estate, prompting local residents to demand action. 

East Barnet councillor Simon Radford and local resident Ros Howarth started the Justice for the Jester campaign to put their message across to the council and the building’s owner. Their Facebook group has signed up nearly 250 members and the campaign has been reported on by BBC London.

Talking to The Barnet Society last year, Ros said: “We fought so hard to try to get the pub restored but we got nowhere and now feel abandoned. Of course, we would be delighted to see it rebuilt and reopened as a community pub.

“But leaving a wrecked building like this is an eyesore. If the planners and the owners are going to go on arguing over its future, the least that could be done is that the building could be demolished, and the site cleared of rubbish.”

Now owners HRST Property Investments are submitting plans to demolish what remains of the pub and develop the site as a nursery with additional housing. 

Cllr Radford said: “When I was elected in 2022, one issue that residents raised with me time and again was action on the Jester.

“They wanted to know why almost a decade after shutting and almost 5 years since the fire, the site was stuck in an ugly limbo and no one was giving it proper attention.

“We’ve managed to get the council’s regeneration and planning teams involved, I got in contact with the site owner, and after a lot of back and forth, I’m delighted that the developer is now submitting plans for a new use for this site.”

Local residents welcomed the news. East Barnet resident Ismael Pope said: “Many who live round here deeply worry that the structure is dangerous and needs to be demolished. A new community facility with a nursery and a cafeteria would be just the ticket.”

Fellow resident Paul Levine said: ““I’m really looking forward to these new facilities being in East Barnet. It has felt we have been stuck with the burnt-out Jester forever.  It seems now that the new Council has put new energy into solving this, which is great to see.”

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