Burnt-out East Barnet ‘eyesore’ pub to make way for new nursery

Councillor approve long-awaited plans to demolish The Jester pub which burned down in 2018, reports Grace Howarth, Local Democracy Reporter

How The Jester site currently looks and (inset) plans for a nursery on the site
How The Jester site currently looks and (inset) the plans for a nursery on the site (credit Dust Architecture)

The site of an East Barnet pub which burnt down six years ago will be given a new lease of life as a nursery after plans were approved by councillors.

The Jester was badly damaged by fire in 2018 and has remained an “eyesore” ever since. Now, a three-storey nursery and two semi-detached residential properties will be built in its place. 

The future of the derelict site, which sits at the junction of Northfield Road and Grove Road, has been a source of local debate for six years with previous redevelopment plans being refused on the grounds they would result in a loss of community space.

But plans for the nursery, set to be operated by family-run childcare service Happy Journeys Day Nurseries, will provide space for up to 100 children and 27 jobs and is proposed for the central section of the site. The two houses are proposed for Northfield Road, next door to the nursery.

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The application was recommended for approval by Barnet Council prior to a planning committee meeting yesterday (Monday 13th). Although two members of the public were scheduled to speak in objection to the plans, neither showed up.

Officers present confirmed the provision of a nursery was defined as a ‘community asset’.

Edith David, an East Barnet ward councillor, said herself and fellow Labour ward councillor Simon Radford had worked closely with residents and the council to bring a viable plan forward and emphasised a decision on what to do with the space had been a “long standing” issue.

Cllr David said: “We have looked at other options, turning it back to a pub or using it as a community asset. We do not mind what decision the community decides on this issue, because the main issue is that it’s an eyesore and we are very keen that the best decision is made that reflects the community’s wishes.”

She added her concern that plans could “drag on” and favoured something being done “as soon as possible”. 

Councillors subsequently voted unanimously to approve the plan.

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