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When is a pub not a pub? When it's the Earl Haig White Elephant!

There is a planning application in for a change of use (and a few incidental bits of re-modelling) for the Earl Haig Memorial Hall in Elder Avenue.

"Conversion of the Earl Haig Hall Memorial Hall (Sui Generis) to a childrens nursery (Use Class D1), plus associated works."

The applicant is Safari Kid a USA based teaching/childcare organisation with an international reach extending as far as Clerkenwell. So it will sit quite nicely beside Mathnasium, a USA based teaching organisation with international reach extending as far as Crouch End. And beside MyGym a USA based child care organisation with opportunities for you to open a franchise. While we're on the topic of the increasingly cosmopolitan and international nature of Crouch End, another notable is the Hornsey Town Hall also now owned by an offshore entity.  The ownership of the Earl Haig is now said to be H Company 6 - which exists in two forms at companies house. Neither of the companies has any human directors, but a series of Limited Liability Partnerships , at least one of which is registered in the British Virgin Islands tax haven and another went into insolvency on 9th January.

One of the major planks of the applicant's argument in favour of a change of use is that the Earl Haig never was a pub, so they can't let it now as a pub, so the Haringey protections for pubs don't apply. You can find the argument for this in Appendix 3 of the Earl Haig Design and Access Statement,  where a Mr Furlong asserts to A Ringer that 'sui generis' ( a unique combination of uses not covered elsewhere) does not include pub. On a building which had a license to sell alcohol and operated for years as a pub, with pub quizzes, live music, pub food and a beer garden. Mr Furlong will have to go more than 220 yards to convince me of his assertion.

And the applicant  has set out that it will be a car free development and proved it by submitting a travel plan. They claim "Most people will walk to a destination that is less than one mile", but don't add "especially the wealthy owners of Chelsea Tractors with two or three other children to drop off at various locations, who are paying hundreds of pounds a week for convenience". And the authors of the travel plan appear not to know about Liveable Crouch End - with as yet unspecified consequences for Elder Avenue as a two way through road.

Another argument in favour of the Earl Haig not being a pub any more is that it was unsuccessful as a pub, even though it wasn't a pub. The proof of this is in the declining value of the premises which has gone from £1m to £1.5m according to the Land Registry. Sorry, no, that's not a decline, what I mean to say is that the property has been run so successfully it's value has increased by 50%. Except that what it has been run as is a tax haven, in the form of an Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) . Investors get tax rebates of up to 30% on the original investment. So it's actually a huge success. 

Tags: earl haig, safari kid

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