Another week, another great London music and nightlife venue under threat by developers. This time it’s the wonderful George Tavern in Stepney that’s in danger, and once again the reason is noise.
The George is a genuine east London treasure. Plan B, John Cooper Clarke, Pete Doherty and Factory Floor have gigged there. Kate Moss, Justin Timberlake and Amy Winehouse have popped in for a photoshoot (and a cheeky pint) in the beautiful Victorian bar. Geoffrey Chaucer name-checked the original tavern on the site in ‘The Canterbury Tales’. It’s been there for hundreds of years and it’s a still a great pub, mostly thanks to the efforts of the current landlady, artist Pauline Forster.
However, Swan Housing Group wants to build flats right next door, and any tenants who move in may not take kindly to having to live next to a pub that hosts live music or DJs most nights of the week. Complaints by the George’s new neighbours could lead to the venue losing its live music licence, and being forced to close.
Over the last ten years Swan and other companies have tried and failed to build flats on the site, and planning application has been refused every time. But there’s growing pressure to build housing in London, and there’s a chance that this time Swan’s plans will succeed.
The Save the George Tavern campaign is trying to halt the development. Another solution might be for the developers to be forced to shoulder the burden of soundproofing their new flats adequately – as Hackney Council decided when another east London pub venue, The Macbeth, was threatened last year.
Either way, if you’re not into the idea of a great live music venue, a proper pub and a centre for the local arts community being put at risk for the sake of a few (non-affordable, we expect) flats, you should give the George a hand. Sign their petition or contact the Planning Inspectorate directly, and spread the word. James Manning
Find out how you can help to save the George Tavern at savethegeorgetavern.com/get-involved.