Plans to turn derelict pub in Queen’s Park into community hub takes off

Ekhlas Ahmed from Spice Caravan, Cycle repair volunteer Malcolm Bush, Leo Johnson, Sophia Flucker -

Ekhlas Ahmed from Spice Caravan, Cycle repair volunteer Malcolm Bush, Leo Johnson, Sophia Flucker - both from the Transition Town who make chutneys and wine from local sources. Pic credit: Jonathan Goldberg - Credit: Archant

Crowds piled in to a derelict empty pub in Queens Park to see how they can breathe new life into it in a groundbreaking community venture.

Meeting at the Corrib Rest, former pub.

Meeting at the Corrib Rest, former pub. - Credit: Archant

Plans to reopen the Corrib Rest in Salusbury Road as a temporary community pub with space to meet, eat, drink, work, get cycle repairs and much more got underway at a crowded meeting there on Tuesday night.

Community group Transition Kensal to Kilburn (TKTK) hosted the evening having created a new core team, Meanwhile At The Corib Rest, to bring about a full scale hub for all residents.

The former watering hole, which is listed as an Asset of Community Value, was bought by Ashcroft Limited last year who plan to build flats above the ground floor.

Meanwhile, the two large function rooms upstairs will accommodate whichever ideas come into fruition.

George Lathan, a founding member of TKTK, said: We’ll use it as a ‘meanwhile space’ initially for six months for the benefit of the local community but it is complicated to get the thing off the ground.

“People are taking time out of their own time to help for the benefit of all which is extraordinary. A lot of them haven’t got involved with TKTK before but they love the space and want to see what it can achieve.”

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The group are looking for volunteer electricians, plumbers, lawyers, accountants, marketing or admin “any skills you have to give.”

Leo Johnson, co-chair of the group provided the home grown cider and Slivovitsa, brandy made from the borough’s plums. He said: “Sometimes we have been picking local fruit and turning into alcohol. We’ll make it and sell it here.”

Cycletastic will offer their repairs service three or four days a week depending on the number of volunteers they have.

Spice Caravan, who provided the food, suggested a pop up kitchen.

Many residents wanted to see live music. Local postman Paul Hibbard, said: “We need a local music venue where local musicians can play, we can’t keep losing them. Music brings people together.” Co-working space for freelancers, a free business advice surgery and films were other ideas.

Allan Rogerson, Honiton Road, said: “I was upset it’s been closed for so long then I heard the local community was trying to get it open again. Who knows, if we make a go of it maybe the pub can be run by local people.”

Michael Stuart, TKTK co-chair, added: “We need to get a financial agreement and license to occupy from Ashcroft and business rates from Brent Council. They are being very supportive. It’s a great turnout tonight, it’s very encouraging.”

Cllr Neil Nerva, Labour councillor for Queen’s Park, said: “You tend to see Meanwhile Spaces in art or cultural venues. This is really groundbreaking and I’m really proud of what the local community have done.”