Memories of plans to convert Leyton Town Hall into a pub

It’s ten years ago this week since we reported on proposals to convert a former town hall in east London into a pub.

Plans have been submitted to convert part of the former Leyton Town Hall site into an up-market pub.

It comes after several front rooms of the historic building, in the High Road, were used for a temporary ‘pop-up’ bar during the Olympic and Paralympic Games by London chain Antic Ltd.

The same company has now applied to run a pub at the site permanently and wants to make several alterations to the Grade II listed structure, including installing a pub sign, a new door and repairing its ceiling.

Antic Ltd operations director Max Alderman previously told the Guardian that the firm was interested in running a bar at the site after being impressed by the potential of Waltham Forest as an up-and-coming area.

A section of the building is formally licensed as a ‘restaurant’ rather than a pub, so the chain is also seeking change of use permission.

Antic Ltd has been credited with helping to revitalise Leytonstone High Road when it reopened the historic Red Lion last year. It has gone on to win several awards including CAMRA’s East London Pub of the Year.

The building, which is now officially called Leyton Municipal Offices, is owned by Lee Valley Estates.

Its chairman Michael Polledri MBE said he hoped the business could similarly help boost Leyton.

He said: “I think it’s very clear that the local community are very keen for the pub to reopen.

“It can be a part of our regeneration strategy for the area and I’m very excited about it.

“It was very popular during the Olympics and a very warm atmosphere. The council were very helpful and supportive as well.

“When I was there a young woman very poignantly said to me that she’d lived in Leyton for two years and it was the first time she’d felt safe going somewhere at night. These are the types of places we want in Leyton”.

Mr Polledri said he hoped the new pub would get the necessary permissions and could open early in 2013.

However Antic Ltd has added a note of caution and said it is still in negotiations with the council over “red tape” and that there were no guarantees about its future plans for the site.

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