The Ivy House pub in Nunhead has become London’s first community-owned pub. It is the first pub in the capital to be saved from closure under a new law that gives residents the right to nominate buildings for protection because of their value to the community.
Back in January we reported on the progress of the Grade II-listed pub, which had been put on the market last year and eyed by developers to turn into flats. But residents formed a campaign group to save the much-loved venue, which has played host to musicians including Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, Joe Strummer and Dr Feelgood over the years. Using the Localism Act, which came into force in September last year, the group lobbied Southwark council to help save the venue. Under the legislation, residents can apply to their council to have a building listed as an ‘asset of community value’, protecting it from change of use and halting any pending sale until local groups have had the chance to buy the property.
On March 15, Southwark approved the application and The Ivy House Community Pub Limited, (the group formed by the campaigners) bought The Ivy House for £810,000 with the help of a loan from the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) and a grant from the Social Investment Business Group. It now owns the place.
‘We are still pinching ourselves that it has happened,’ said Hugo Simms, one of the campaigners. ‘But when we did get the keys we went in, pulled up a table and chairs and popped open a bottle of champagne. We are thrilled.’
The group is aiming is to reopen the venue as a pub and combine it with use as a performance space, music recording studio, community meeting and studio space for artists and musicians. It has launched a community share scheme under which people can invest anything from £200 to £20,000 to help reopen and run the pub. ‘Cheers’ to the Ivy House! Rebecca Taylor
See more on the pub and its campaign at ivyhousenunhead.com.