The Prince Edward

A rally outside The Prince Edward on Sunday. Photograph: Josh Loeb

A working class pub is facing the threat of demolition because of its owner’s pursuit of ‘short-term gain’ a Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) advocate has claimed.

CAMRA’s East London Pubs Preservation Officer James Watson said The Prince Edward in Homerton was “a classic community pub” whose publican “pays a good market rent” to freeholder Sandeep Johal.

Punters are furious that Mr Johal has applied to Hackney Council for permission to flatten the pub, which dates from 1866 and is popular with the West Indian community, in order to build a five-storey apartment block containing nine private flats.

Mr Watson said: “The only reason he wants to bulldoze this pub and build flats is for short term financial gain for himself at the expense of this community, and as a representative of a consumer rights organisation that champions responsible drinking, I think that stinks.”

‘Salt of the earth’

He added: “The problem with gentrified hipster Hackney is that you leave other people behind. You leave behind working class, dare I say poor, downtrodden people.

“These are salt of the earth people who are not going to pay £5.50 for a bottle of craft beer. They want to be in a place where they recognise the food offering.

“Many of these people’s parents and grandparents have been coming here and marking their life events here for years. They are almost the forgotten people of Hackney, but these people are council tax payers and they have been here a lot longer than the hipsters.”

On Sunday the pub’s regulars staged a rally outside the building in Wick Road.

Beef stew was served to celebrate the 85th birthday of Matthew Williams, who has been coming to The Prince Edward for 25 years.

Mr Williams said: “I don’t know why they want to close it. Soon there will be nowhere to go.”

James Awuley, 56, said: “This pub is a community centre. Generations of people have had birthday parties, funeral receptions and other family events here.”

The Prince Edward was owned by pub chain Trumans and then Punch Taverns before being bought by Mr Johal in 2010.

Hackney Council is expected to make a decision on the planning application in May.

Neither Sandeep Johal nor his agent for the development, Doug Auld of Norton Mayfield Architects, have so far responded to letters from the Hackney Citizen offering them the right of reply.

Related:

Chesham Arms: council confronts owner Mukund Patel over ‘unauthorised use’

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