Want to buy a pub? If you don’t mind sharing it with a few of your neighbours then take a look at the Ivy House pub in Nunhead, where local residents have clubbed together to try and save their local boozer, the Ivy House, a classic 1930s building, that was recently listed by English Heritage. The pub closed in April 2012, but now it could the first venue nationally to be protected as a community asset after being nominated by local residents to Southwark council under the new Localism Act.
The pub boasts many original features such as a curved bar and timber panelled walls and it played host to a wealth of musicians before they became famous including Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, Joe Strummer and Dr Feelgood. Local residents say it has played a pivotal role in the community’s life. But its continued success came to an abrupt end in April 2012 when the owners, Enterprise Inns, announced its closure and imminent sale to a developer.
Locals immediately clubbed together to get the building listed and the sale fell through. The residents then got the place listed as an ‘asset of community value’ (the first place in the country to utilise the new Localism Act, whereby local groups can nominate buildings for listing in a register of assets of community value, held by the council. Buildings that are successfully listed cannot be sold without first giving local groups the right to bid for them, in order to use them for community benefit).
There is now a moratorium on the selling of the pub until the end of April, unless the buyer is The Ivy House Pub and Hub Community Interest Company – the community organisation. The local group has recently been offered a £500,000 loan from the Architectural Heritage Fund to go towards buying the pub and a further decision on funding is pending from the Social Investment Business Group. A decision is expected in a couple of weeks. The two amounts combined should be enough for the community to buy their pub!
Plans for the venue by the group range from using it as a music recording space, entertainment venue, community meeting space and studio room for artists and musicians. So there you go, a tale of good neighbours, intelligent local government, and a (hopefully) happy ending! Rebecca Taylor
For info, see ivyhousenunhead.com.