Campaigners fight to save Haggerston’s Acorn pub as demolition looms once again

Saved: The Acorn pub in Haggerston
The Acorn pub in Haggerston.

An early Victorian pub on Queensbridge Road is again being threatened with demolition, despite its salvation by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) only a few years ago.

The Acorn had been nominated as an Asset of Community Value in 2016 by CAMRA to prevent it being knocked down, a move which has now been blocked by businessman Nilesh Lukka.

Lukka has also successfully appealed Hackney Council’s original decision to refuse planning permission to develop the site, with an application to be considered next week for the construction of a new seven-storey building with an attached bar space.

A representative for CAMRA said: “We notice that in spite of our ACV registration which saved the pub from demolition, the owner is still attempting to knock it down and replace it with private flats.

“We note that this pub has not been marketed, in spite of much local interest amongst pub operators.

“There is no suggestion that the continued operation of a pub in the historical building is not entirely viable and sustainable.”

The Acorn, which closed its doors in September 2016, dating back to 1839, is one of the few buildings in the area to have survived the Second World War, and is thought to have been a watering hole for workers on Regents Canal and the gas works on the site of Haggerston Park which was destroyed in the Blitz.

The owner’s plans have also attracted opposition from the Hackney Society, who say that the loss of building would cause “significant harm” to the area, pointing out that such a classic Victorian corner pub is the only remaining evidence of the area’s early-19th century roots.

However, Lukka has countered in his application that “the solitary nature of the building means that it represents the last vestige of a previous era and, as such, is incongruous with the post-war pattern of development.”

The future of the Acorn will be decided at the council’s 2 October planning sub-committee, at which Town Hall officers will recommend the application be approved.

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