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Grade II listed pub and music venue is first to be saved under Localism Act nationally

Published Friday, 02 November 2012

The Ivy House

A stunning pub and music venue could be saved under the Localism act if local people successfully bid for it.

The Ivy House pub in Nunhead, a classic 1930s, wood-panelled building, recently listed by English Heritage may be the first venue nationally to be protected after local people rallied to nominate it for listing as a community asset by Southwark council under the Localism Act.

The pub, which was previously known as the Newlands Tavern boasts many original features such as a curved bar and timber panelled walls. It was one of the major pub music venues in South London during the 'pub-rock' boom of the mid-1970s. It hosted early incarnations of many bands and performers who later rose to fame including Ian Dury, Elvis Costello, Joe Strummer and Dr Feelgood. The pub was later renamed the Stuart Arms before becoming The Ivy House.

The campaigners see the Ivy House as a key asset to the local community in Nunhead. It is one of only two pubs at the eastern end of the neighbourhood and as such has played a pivotal role in community life both as a pub and popular venue used by the community for a range of purposes. The pub's immediate vicinity is marked by an absence of places to meet and socialise in the evenings.

Its continued success as a destination music venue and performance space came to an abrupt end in April 2012 when it was closed to the public.

Since then, a group of local residents have battled to save the building and retain it as a community space, recognising its historical significance and merit as a community hub.

Under the Localism Act, local groups can nominate buildings for listing in a register of assets of community value, held by the council. Buildings that are successfully listed cannot be sold without first giving community groups the right to bid for them, in order to use them for community benefit. Southwark is the first council to list such an asset.

The pub was withdrawn from auction on 29 October 2012 by its current owner and now the property appears on the council's list of assets of community value under the Localism Act. A community group could bid for the property when it next goes for sale to try to ensure its community use into the future.

Councillor Claire Hickson, cabinet member for communities and economic development, said: "I'm delighted at the strength of feeling and determination of local people to save this space for future generations. With a new school and housing being built next door, saving this building for community use can only be a positive addition to the area. The fact that Southwark is the first London council to register a community asset demonstrates the strength of our local communities and our commitment to supporting them. I would like to thank the local councillors for their contribution to this campaign."

Plans for the venue by the group, should they successfully buy it, could range from using it as a music recording space, to an entertainment venue, community meeting space and studio room for artists and musicians.

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