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January 25, 2023

A popular 19th-century pub that has sat empty for three years is one step closer to reopening. The Ealing Park Tavern shut its doors in 2019, but once a new landlord is found and a huge revamp is complete, customers will be able to enjoy a pint in the pub once more.

The Ealing Park Tavern first opened in 1886 and was loved for its historic interiors, great food and drinks. With two function rooms, a large restaurant and a garden, it was well-known in the South Ealing area.

The pub closed in 2019 and has been empty ever since. Ealing Council planners granted permission for the historic pub to be refurbished in 2022, with nine flats created via a number of extensions to the main building and stables. The original building dates back as far as 1728 when it was the Lewis Furnell Brewhouse. Records indicate the oldest part of the existing public house on the site was constructed in 1885.

Developers were keen to keep the main bar area, which gave residents hope that the valued boozer would soon return. On Wednesday, 25 January, Ealing Council’s licensing sub-committee granted the pub a new licence which means it is one step closer to re-opening after the refurbishment.

Local councillor Paul Driscoll said that he has had lots of queries from locals anticipating the reopening of the Tavern. He said, “I think the closure was felt in the area and I think opening the tavern and applying for a license is to be welcomed.”

But, not all residents were keen for the pub to return. Mike Southworth, who has lived near the pub, for 30 years, was concerned that he will be disturbed by noise at the venue once again. He spoke to councillors about his worries at the hearing.

He said, “We have seen when the pub has not been well run, and when the pub has been well run. The best time was when it was run as a gastro pub without music and it was a very pleasant atmosphere for many years.

“It did become a more music-focused venue and that was a problem. They had small live bands and it was worse in the summer months when the door onto Carlyle Road was used for ventilation purposes.”

Mr Southworth welcomed the proposal that the door onto Carlyle Road, where most residents live, will be used for emergencies only. Under the license, customers will not be allowed to congregate on the road and there will be no tables and chairs for them to use.

He continued, “Another problem was the tipping of big crates from behind the bar into industrial bins and that could be done pretty late at night when you were in bed. It would just jump you awake.”

Ealing Park Tavern in the early part of the 20th century

Sunny Popoat, who is developing the building, assured Mr Southworth that the bins are no longer outside and are internally on South Ealing Road. But, under the licence, external bin use is only permitted from 8am until 8pm to reduce noise.

The Ealing Civic Society welcomed the news that the historic site would be reopening but were concerned that the long opening hours would disturb nearby neighbours. Under the licence, the pub will open from 8am until midnight, with alcohol being served from 10am until 11.30pm.

At the weekend, the licence will allow alcohol to be sold with breakfast from 8am. The tavern will also be allowed to serve late-night refreshments until midnight.

Piers Warne, from TLT solicitors, representing the developer, said. “Covid has forced a lot of premises to look at how they bring in customers and try to survive. From an operational view, we have to look at everything one can do to get customers in, hence earlier mornings, offering breakfasts and things like that.”

“We want to keep options open, same with the later hours. Yes, it is a residential area but if customers come back late from work – people work all sorts of hours – we want them to have the opportunity if they want to stay half an hour later to leave. We don’t anticipate that this means it will be a destination premise, indeed it would be daft to suggest it would but it just allows a little flexibility.”

When the Tavern does reopen, it will look a little different from what it was before thanks to the flats being built. The pub and garden will be slightly smaller, with the function rooms gone, and it will focus on meals and all-day service will be on the cards.

Although the developer has been granted the licence, it is anticipated that a separate landlord will be running the Ealing Park Tavern. A new tenant is yet to be found, so the reopening date of the pub is still unknown.

Megan Stanley - Local democracy reporter


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