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Demolition threat for Cricklewood pub formerly run by uncle of DJ Fatboy Slim

PUBLISHED: 17:31 18 March 2014 | UPDATED: 18:06 18 March 2014

Left to right: Lib Dem council candidates for Childs Hill, Jonathan Davies and Charlotte Henry, with Cllr Jack Cohen. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Left to right: Lib Dem council candidates for Childs Hill, Jonathan Davies and Charlotte Henry, with Cllr Jack Cohen. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A historic pub in Cricklewood whose final landlord was an uncle of DJ Fatboy Slim could be reduced to rubble to make way for flats.

Denis Cook, in The Castle pub shortly before its closure. Picture: Nigel Sutton.Denis Cook, in The Castle pub shortly before its closure. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

The Castle in Finchley Road, is set to be snapped up by a property developer after Barnet Council refused to list it as an asset of community value.

Campaigners had been fighting for the venue, famed for its live music heritage, to be given the special protection as a pub has been on the site since the 1700s.

The pub has sat derelict since closing in December 2012 when former landlord Denis Cook, 67, was forced to leave the business after the building’s owner, Greene King brewery, sold the site to a property developer.

Mr Cook, whose nephew’s real name is Norman Cook, spent £250,000 renovating the pub upon becoming landlord in November 2009 and attempted to appeal to wide sections of the community - introducing an all-kosher food menu in 2012.

During his tenure, Mr Cook attracted a host of well-known musicians to play at The Castle, including Albert Lee, Georgie Fame, Wilko Johnson and, shortly before the pub’s closure, John Lennon’s first band The Quarrymen.

He said: “I wanted to bring it back to its former glory.

“I heard stories of Marc Bolan and Shane MacGowan going there back in the day.

I’m not proud of the fact I will be the last landlord of The Castle, that was not a part of my CV that I wanted. I was very saddened by the whole situation. I love that building.”

Cllr Jack Cohen, Liberal Democrat councillor for Child’s Hill, who spearheaded the campaign, said: “It’s a landmark site because it’s very prominent and well-loved by the locals.

“People came from far and wide to listen to good bands and people used to describe it as iconic. It’s a place where up and coming bands could come out and practice in front of a live audience.”

He added: “I’m beginning to think that the Conservatives in Barnet have written off this part of the borough,” he said. “People down in Childs Hill want a life and don’t want to have to keep fighting for their amenities not to be taken away.”

Cllr Robert Rams, cabinet member for customer access and partnerships, who made the decision to reject The Castle as a community asset, said: “As someone who had visited that pub many times before, I struggled to see the legitimacy of listing it as a community asset.

“It was a run-down pub that had seen better days. It was clear the times I’d been that it wasn’t being used by the community.”

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