New Camden Snooker Club in Delancey Street
Published: 2 August, 2012
by DAN CARRIER
A SINGLE square-metre hole dug in the floor of a snooker club spells the end of a decade-long battle to save the Crown and Goose pub in Camden Town.
The hole – created by builders working on the New Camden Snooker Club in Delancey Street – was used in a planning inquiry by owners IH Barclay as proof that work had started on redeveloping the club and neighbouring pub before a three-year time clause had passed.
Now the Crown and Goose faces closure and the snooker hall – where seven-times world champion Stephen Hendry was once a regular – will not be rebuilt.
In 2008, in the face of massive opposition, the owners were given planning permission to knock down the pub and snooker hall and build a large bar or restaurant on the ground floor with 10 homes above.
In November last year demolition teams began work at the snooker club, but Camden Council served a notice on the owners to stop them as they said no work had started within the time limit and the planning permission had expired.
The planning inquiry came after the owners disputed this, and a Whitehall inspector this week ruled that Camden Council’s bid to block the snooker hall’s demolition was wrong as the hole showed work was underway.
Planning agent Roger Sharpley, who represents the owners, told the New Journal they knew the work was legal.
He said: “The inspector has vindicated our case. We were always certain we had activated consent and the inspector has confirmed that.”
Whitehall inspector Sara Morgan said the main issue was whether the demolition was a breach of planning control.
The inspector heard evidence from Camden Council that stated any work on the site within the three-year limit was “minimal” and did not count.
Ms Morgan judged that the hole – a metre deep – could be used for foundations and is therefore part of the project.
But Camden’s legal team said the original plans showed the new building would use a different sort of foundations, based on pile driving, which would not require the hole that was dug.
Camden Town and Primrose Hill Lib Dem councillor Chris Naylor said: “Camden Town’s such an exciting mix of old and new. Losing the old snooker hall is one more bit of this special jigsaw gone. We’ve all been fighting this so it’s a sad, sad day to lose this battle.”
Councillor Valerie Leach, Camden’s Cabinet Member for Planning, said: “We fought to protect the Crown and Goose pub and put up a strong case. The Inspector’s ruling allows the owner to demolish the existing building, and we share the frustrations of our local communities with this outcome.
"We remain ready to talk to the developers about an alternative solution that would meet their needs and save this valued pub.”