Campaigners toast victory as Chesham Arms set to reopen as ‘East End boozer’

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The Chesham Arms on Metahebal Road. Photograph: Save the Chesham

The Chesham Arms pub in Homerton is set to reopen as a ‘traditional East End boozer’ this Summer after campaigners fought off a property developer seeking to turn it into flats.

The building requires significant work before it can reopen as the interior of the pub including the bar was removed as part of its controversial conversion by owner Mukund Patel.

Hackney‐based publican Andy Bird has signed a 15 year lease on the property and is currently working round the clock to restore the 150 year-old pub to its former glory.

The signing of the lease comes just one month after Hackney Council added a final layer of protection to the pub. The Article 4 Direction prevents any change of use away from a pub without a full planning application.

Bird has run several bars and pubs in East London including the bar Happiness Forgets in Hoxton Square. He said he plans to restore to the pub to its former glory as a “traditional East End boozer”.

Chairman of Save the Chesham, Jonathan Sockett, who is a close neighbour and former regular customer said: “This is fantastic news and we wish the new operator all the best.

“We are delighted that a pub built when these streets were first laid out around 150 years ago can now continue to provide a warm welcome to local people for decades to come. After almost 1000 days closed, we are very much looking forward to our first pint back in The Chesham Arms”

James Watson, another local resident and CAMRA’s London Region Pub Protection Advisor said the campaign should “act as a warning to other property developers”. He said: “pubs should not be viewed as lucrative development opportunities, but an important part of the social fabric of our cities.

“Hackney Council have done sterling work in standing up to this developer and the neighbourhood never gave up on our pub. The reopening makes our combined effort worthwhile”