Cricklewood pub The Windmill ‘under threat’ as Brent planners sign off plan to turn hotel upstairs into flats
PUBLISHED: 15:52 13 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:08 13 September 2018
Communities fear a much loved Cricklewood pub has become a “Trojan horse” after Brent planners waved through an application to build flats above it.
The Windmill Bar, in Cricklewood Broadway, once operated alongside a hotel and was popular with neighbours.
But last night Brent granted developers permission to change the hotel’s use to nine flats – with the pub retained at the bottom, but without securing any protection for it beyond that.
The pub garden will be lost and there is no kitchen in the new plans, which campaigners say could mean any future business there isn’t viable.
Joanne Scott, speaking at the meeting on behalf of community groups, accused the agent of inaccuracies in its report, which said the pub had not been used for 10 years.
She told the committee: “The applicant claims the Windmill has not been in use as a public house but only been open for private functions in the last 10 years. This is not true and raises questions over their future intent.
“Cricklewood library, Creative Cricklewood and Carrie and Jo held regular nights until the pub suddenly closed in late 2017.
“The Windmill pub Twitter feed at that time promoted a beer festival, open mic nights and other events.”
She cited Brent’s pub protection policy, asking councillors to do more and place more conditions on the application.
She added: “Absence of a kitchen and absence of a planning application for ventilation makes it clear the pub will be a shell, the viability of which will be questioned and should be in a policy. If planners see it as an issue they should write that into conditions.
“Loss of a garden and kitchen make the pub a less attractive premises to rent. Developers often get permission for flats above then make the pub unviable due to noise, et cetera, leave it empty then apply for change of use – a Trojan horse scenario.”
Applicant and planning agent Carolyn Apcar stressed: “The application doesn’t involve any loss of pub space.”
Cllr Lia Colacicco said: “You say it’s been closed for years but I had a drink there last summer.”
The agent said the pub was let out to organisations to run functions, adding: “It’s probably not well minded with anyone on the door stopping people going in.”
Councillors asked officers: “Is there anything you can do to prevent the Trojan horse scenario?” Officers said no.
Seven councillors voted in favour of the application; one rejected it and the plan was passed.