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Campaign to save The Castle in Childs Hill could protect other pubs
A campaign to save a "historic" pub dating back more than 260 years could help protect public houses across the borough.
More than 200 people have signed a petition calling for Barnet Council to do everything it can to ensure The Castle pub in Finchley Road, Childs Hill, remains a public house.
The pub has been left boarded up by its owners since it closed last year, but neighbours are desperate for it to be brought back into use.
The Childs Hill Labour Action Team launched the petition in an attempt to persuade Barnet Council to have the site listed as a community asset.
Doing this would mean that the pub could not be redeveloped for another purpose other than a public house without a debate in which residents could have their say.
Andrew Smith, member of the action team, said: “The Castle is particularly important because it’s the only pub in the area.
“A lot of people value it because it’s been there for so long and we want to make sure it stays as a public facility and it’s not turned into housing – it’s got far too much value.
“There are already a number of major new developments in Childs Hill and residents are very clear that they don’t want to see The Castle lost as part of that process.”
The first record of the pub, which was formerly known as the Castle Inn, dates from 1751.
The pub predates Finchley Road, which was built in the 1820s as a toll road, and was used as a toll gate until 1871.
But despite an English Heritage blue plaque commemorating the historic significance of the building, it does not have any special protection from development.
As well as steering the campaign for The Castle, the group also wants the council to list all Barnet’s public houses as assets.
Mr Smith added: “After speaking to people on their doorsteps, we know that they value pubs in the community. Pubs are important because they provide a social space for people to meet and they’ve always been a central part of a community.
“We hope that the council will agree to our request, which would allow residents to show their support for this historic site and for keeping pubs in the area."
Councillor Robert Rams, Barnet Council Cabinet member for customer access and partnerships, said: “We received a nomination form for the Castle Pub to be considered as a community asset on December 1. The council has eight weeks from receiving the form to consider the nomination and decide if it would be eligible for listing on the Register of Community Assets.
“There is a procedure in place to consider expressions of interest under the Community Right to Bid legislation. Any bids will need to meet the criteria of the Localism Act and the council’s own criteria and decisions about whether to list will be made on a case by case basis, with each case judged on its merits.”
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