Campaigners’ joy as council blocks plan to turn 400-year-old pub into flats

The Albion, pictured in 2008. Photograph: Dr Neil Clifton / Geograph

Punters are rejoicing after plans to turn one of Hackney’s oldest pubs into flats were blocked by Hackney Council.

Developers were bidding to turn the 400-year-old Albion into a prized piece of Victoria Park real estate.

But Town Hall planners said the proposed changes were “unacceptable in land use and design terms”.

James Watson, protection officer for the local branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), welcomed the decision: “We are pleased that Hackney Council has refused consent for the historic Albion to be turned into a private house.

“This is a beautiful pub in an area which has sadly lost many pubs to alternative use. We believe that pubs are essential community facilities and contribute greatly to the sense of space in London’s neighbourhoods.”

The bid to turn the pub into a three-bedroom house was fiercely contested, with a total of 31 objections received by the council to date.

CAMRA was one of the groups that objected, on the grounds that the pub was sold to developers at an inflated price and not properly marketed to pub operators.

Watson told the Citizen that the council’s decision brings the Albion, which last called last orders in 2015, one step closer to opening its doors to punters again.

“The council has been made aware of at least three local pub operators who are interested in refurbishing and relaunching the Albion,” he said.

“Any suggestion that the Albion is not viable holds no water. We now call on the developer to properly market the site at a fair price, or secure a pub tenant to relaunch the Albion at the heart of the community.”