Thursday 18 October 2018

#SaveTheMidland Matthew Offord MP joins our campaign

The Barnet Eye has never been shy of criticising our local MP's and councillors when they do not act in the interests of local people. We have also not been shy of praising them to the rafters when they do the right thing and get stuck in for the community. We've had our run ins in the past with our local MP Matthew Offord, but today he has come up trumps. Matthew has climbed on board our campaign to save the Midland Hotel in West Hendon. Matthew visited the pub last week with the newly elected local councillors and has vowed to fight to #SaveTheMidland.

Matthew has put up a post on his website detailing his support for the campaign.

Midland Hotel
Matthew Offord MP visits the Midland Hotel
Matthew met with local landlord, councillors and residents to discuss their approach to a planning application for the Midland Hotel public house in Station Road, West Hendon. The popular local pub has been open since 1889 but is now under threat after the freeholder has sought to demolish the building and construct 59 flats on the site.
Barnet Council has received over 400 objections to the application and many local people oppose the destruction of a local amenity. With the construction of the West Hendon estate and regeneration of the area, many local people feel that more places like the Midland are needed.
Matthew is working with local councillors to nominate the Midland Hotel as an Asset of Community Value. To achieve this a case has to be presented to Barnet Council to demonstrate that the use of the building furthers the ‘social wellbeing and social interests’ of the community.
Matthew said: “As someone who has lived in Hendon for decades, I have sadly seen the closure of so many pubs in the local area. The Midland really is a community asset - great for a coffee or something to eat - as well as for a pint!
"I will be urging Barnet Council to follow the example of Wandsworth who has told the owners of 120 bars and pubs that they have to seek councillors’ approval before changing the building’s use or knocking it down.”
I am especially pleased to read the last sentence of Matthews press release. At last a local politician is taking the issue of pub closure and loss of community resource such as pubs seriously. I have this morning emailed the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council to support Mr Offords proposal

Dear Leader and Deputy Leader,

As you may be aware, I have been spearheading a campaign to Save the Midland Hotel. I organised an event at The Midland last Saturday to help try and promote the campaign to save the pub and collect signatures. I was delighted to meet newly elected councillor Helene Richman, who I invited up to say a few words to the audience. I was highly impressed by Helene as were the audience, who gave her a raptuous round of applause (possibly a first for an event organised by the Barnet Eye for a Conservative Councillor).. Helene spoke of the need to protect pubs and community spaces from developers and detailed how she'd enlisted the help of local MP Matthew Offord. I was also delighted to see that Mr Offord has publicly supported the pub campaign on his blog. I am especially supportive of the last sentence of his blog post "I will be urging Barnet Council to follow the example of Wandsworth who has told the owners of 120 bars and pubs that they have to seek councillors’ approval before changing the building’s use or knocking it down.”

This seems to me to be an eminently sensible proposal and in my discussions with Helene I agreed that I would do all I could to support the adoption of such a policy in Barnet. I am therefore asking you as Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council to support the proposal and bring this forward as Council policy ASAP. Should such a policy be adopted, I would seek to speak in support of its adoption at committee.This is an excellent opportunity to leave a legacy in the Borough for future generations. As Mr Offord states in his blog, the pub has been open since 1889 and is part of our heritage. Lets make sure we protect this pub and others for future generations. Whilst tastes may change, evolve and develop there will always be the need for the community to meet and socialise. Pubs are important landmarks and as the regeneration of St Pancras has shown, what may be seen as archaic in one era can be transformed into truly world beating space with energy, imagination and commitment. Lets make the Midland Hotel the turning point in Barnet, where we seek to ensure that all developments put the local residents first.

I believe that there is cross community support for such an initiative

Roger Tichborne
As a community, we are at our best when we put our differences aside and work together. The petition now has over 550 objections, which is a truly magnificent total.


Fight the Midland Demolition said...

Thank you Roger for publicising this.

This is an astronomical response from residents and pub/heritage supporters all over the borough and UK.

Your letter today to the Leader and Deputy Leader is awesome and even more support for us in West Hendon. Cheers!

Gerrard Roots said...

So Hendon's usually invisible Tory MP and a couple of new Tory councillors for West Hendon have hi-jacked a well-run grass-roots campaign to save the Midland pub. All these characters have tiny majorities. Could that be fuelling their 'rage against the machine' that is Barnet's Tory Council: a shambolic and vile machine that these people have themselves helped to create? Surely not.

Anyhow, the intervention of Matthew Offord is unlikely to help. I seem to remember that Offord protested about the demolition of the Whiite Bear pub in Hendon. Of course, that campaign was a triumph: the White Bear has gone, to be replaced with 'luxury' flats.

Judging by past form Offord's 'assistance' will probably be the kiss of death.