UPDATE: The Chairman of the Planning Committee and the Committee member for Royal Hospital Ward were consulted on 13th March 2018 by the owner, Mr. David Baroukh. He confirmed that his plans are in progress to re-open the pub as a traditional Chelsea pub with a small restaurant, and we discussed a number of changes which he wishes to make. We asked for further details, and reiterated the importance of retaining the 19th century panelling and bar fittings.
THE STORY SO FAR: After helping to save the Queen’s Head from being totally converted to residential in 2012, the Society was disappointed when the pub closed its doors after 175 years, on 7th September 2016. However, all is not lost, and it may reopen in the not too distant future.
The Society supported an application to RBKC to designate the pub as an “Asset of Community Value” (which restricts the permitted development rights which the owner would otherwise have), and it was listed for 5 years on 10th November 2016. The pub has served the local community well, and the Planning Inspector agreed in 2012 that it was highly valued by the local community.
Under s. 15(1) of the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 the Government has changed the permitted development regulations with regard public houses. As from 23 May 2017 planning permission will be required for a pub (a class A4 use) to be used as a shop (a Class A1 use), an estate agent or other financial or professional use (a Class A2 use) or as a restaurant/cafe (a Class A3 use.) Permission will not be required for mixed pub/ restaurant use.
Tryon Street frontage
On 30th September 2016 Michael Stephen, Chris Lenon, and Michael Bach, met with representatives of the owner, Mr. David Baroukh, who explained his proposals to reduce the ground floor space of the pub and to bring the basement into use for a kitchen and restaurant. The upper floors, (with an additional storey on the main building) and the adjoining accommodation in Tryon St. and Elystan Place would be converted to residential, and the Society will be consulted on the external appearance.
Elystan Place frontage
The Society has reserved its position, and wishes to see the proposed layout of the ground floor and basement, as it is important that enough space (including space for storage) would remain for a viable pub on this site in the heart of Chelsea. We would also wish RBKC to obtain evidence from expert consultants as to economic viability, and we would need to be satisfied that the necessary works would be done, and that a lease of the pub would be granted on suitable terms. We would not wish to see the Victorian pub fittings removed or damaged.
We need to be satisfied that this is not the first step in a scheme to turn the whole building into residential accommodation.
On 18th November Michael Stephen and Chris Lenon met the owner at the premises and he explained in more detail his ideas for the property. We went into the basement and noted that the ceiling-height was adequate for a restaurant and that there would be enough space for a kitchen, a store-room, and toilets. There is a disused 19th century kitchen range which would be restored and preserved as a feature in the restaurant.
On the ground floor, the area would be reduced by converting the southern part on the Tryon Street frontage into a house, but increased by extending it into open space on the north side. In view of the fact that the basement is being brought into use as a restaurant, and that the serving area of the bar will be reduced to make a more efficient use of space, the public area of the premises will actually increase. However we await the floor plans showing the areas concerned.
The owner sees the future of the pub as a traditional Chelsea pub. There is some good Victorian panelling around the walls and around the bar, and we requested that this be carefully dismantled and re-used. As this pub is in close proximity to flats and houses we would object to music and voice amplified through loudspeakers. There would be no objection to a traditional pub piano.
On the Tryon Street frontage, the house to be converted from part of the bar area would have the same external appearance as the existing terrace of houses.
Tryon Street frontage
We stressed the importance of exactly matching the existing houses in detail, so that it would not be apparent that it was a new structure. The existing brickwork should be carefully dismantled and re-used without cleaning.
A Planning Application was submitted to RBKC on 19th December 2016, which includes an interesting Heritage Assessment of the pub and its locality. https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/planning/searches/details.aspx?adv=0&simple=tryon+street&simpleBatch=20&simSubmit=Search&id=PP/16/08494&cn=206815+Savills+33+Margaret+St+LONDON+&type=application&tab=tabs-planning-1
Planning permission was granted on 27th February 2017 subject to a s.106 Agreement http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/planning/searches/details.aspx?address=&streetname=&postcode=&ward=&consarea=&caseyear=&casenumber=&proposal=&decisionyear=&decisionmonth=&appealref=&batch=20&id=PP/16/08494&type=decision&tab=tabs-planning-1[last updated 5.5.17]