500 sign petition to save pub that's 'at heart of the community'

500 sign petition to save pub that's 'at heart of the community'

THE Copenhagen pub, which has been at the "heart of the community" for decades, is to be turned into a convenience store and flats, despite booming business, angry locals say.

Developer Campden Hill plans to build 21 affordable homes and a Sainsbury's Local - which they say will create about 25 full- and part-time jobs - on the site of the pub, at the corner of Dalmeny Avenue and Camden Road in Holloway, which was forced to close on Saturday.

More than 500 people signed a petition opposing the scheme in just 10 days, said pub manager Linda Evans, who was "totally gutted" to hear the news.

Members of the Hope for the Cope campaign expressed strong opposition to the plans at a public exhibition on Wednesday. "We don't want to lose our pub. It's at the heart of the community." campaigner Paula Silvester said.

Karen Mackatire, another campaigner, described the pub as "a local landmark". "I can't believe it's not listed," she added. Tracy Western, who lives near the pub, said she was concerned about the "noise of deliveries" to a shop.

Nearby shopkeepers are worried about the arrival of a supermarket.

Anandanadaragah Maheethan, who owns Camden Superstores in Dalmeny Avenue, said: "Basically, we're going to have to close our shop. When Sainsbury's comes, that's it. I might go bankrupt."

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) has joined the protests. Regional director John Cryne said: "We're going to fight this one and do everything we can to keep it as a pub. It's hugely important. It's community pubs like these we've been losing one by one."

Camra North London branch chairman Catherine Tonry added: "The Copenhagen has got very interesting Art Deco architecture. It's of historical value. There aren't many pubs with this sort of interior."

A spokeswoman for the developer claimed there had been a "very mixed" response to the proposals. "Some elderly people and single mums are looking forward to having the Sainsbury's," she said. "The pub guys are not too happy."

In a statement Campden Hill said: "We acquired the pub in 2012 when it was sold by Punch Taverns and are aware that it has been loss-making for some time."

Since Ms Evans became manager in January, she says business has been good.

Her first action was to rename the pub The Copenhagen, after five years of being a South American-themed bar, The Latin Corner.

From The Islington Tribune http://www.islingtontribune.com Published: 29 March, 2013 By PETER GRUNER and JAMES BURLEY