Wetherspoons answers

Pub chain Wetherspoons has answered customers of the George who complained that the chain was selling its lease to another pub chain, as we reported on Friday.

Reader JanetPlanet, whose comment appeared to sum up the feelings of many, received this reply:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us.

We can confirm that the George pub is currently on the market however it will continue operating as a Wetherspoon pub until is sold and we very much hope that you will still enjoy the pub until then.

We understand that you, the pub’s other loyal customers and our dedicated members of staff will be disappointed with this decision, however JD Wetherspoon has made the decision on a commercial basis which we believe is in the best interest of the company as a whole. We hope customers will choose to visit our other pubs in the area.

We can confirm that staff will be given the opportunity for re-employment at other Wetherspoon pubs in the event that their pub is sold.

Nonetheless your comments and observations have been noted.
Thank you again for contacting us and for all your custom at the George.

Many thanks,
Wetherspoon Customer Services

Wetherspoons confirms The George is ‘under offer’

A spokesman for Wetherspoons has confirmed to Wansteadium that The George pub in Wanstead is under offer to another pub chain. Rumours have been circulating on social media throughout Friday about the news but this is the first confirmation that the news is correct.

The chain did not say who the prospective owner was, but the rumours are that it would convert the George into a gastropub.

The development took customers and even people working elsewhere in hospitality in Wanstead by surprise. Wetherspoons has however divested itself of other pubs in the past few months, including the Last Post in Loughton, so it is not unprecedented.

Ironically Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin told Sky News on Friday that the company was to increase the number of its pubs by 20%, as the company reported growing profits.

The George dates back to the 1700s, and the current building was completed in 1903.

Reader JanetPlanet adds:

I have emailed JDW to say what a loss this would be to the area. May not make much impact but just to register what a treasure this pub is to Wanstead: Have heard that The George is under offer. Please withdraw! This is the best pub in East London. It is such a grand pub which is an important hub for all age groups. I love that in a posh area, this pub is accessible to all due to it prices. You see older folk at breakfast, people that lunch, last-day-of-school teens in the summer, exam result get-togethers, family celebrations, weekenders, intimate chats, and not to mention – a really convenient station pub to meet folk. You are the last bastion of working class culture. Wanstead needs you. I feel sure that this is a pub in profit. Your staff are well-trained and the building is welk maintained. You would be such a loss to the area.

Adverts are coming, like it or not

We knew this would happen. Despite holding out against allowing advertising behemoths to take control of Wanstead High Street, Redbridge Planning has been overruled by the government’s Planning Inspectorate and a digital display board is now being installed outside the Lighthouse Fish & Chip shop. It’s probably the first of several such displays.

How the display will look, via Redbridge Planning

The decision means that companies can show adverts on massive TV screens on the street, whereas shopkeepers may not have illuminated shopfronts in the interests of preserving the Wanstead Village Conservation Area.  

The inspector ruled that the adverts should be allowed because the board is “not prominent” and would “respect the surrounding area”. If you can’t follow that logic, the reasoning is set out in the inspector’s ruling, below.

One hopes the advertisers will be paying substantial rates to the council for the right to show us adverts. The payphones will rarely if ever be used. There’s going to be a defibrillator on the board outside the Lighthouse – let’s hope that won’t ever be needed. But it’s an expensive way to have one installed, especially when there are already defibrillators at the Corner House, the Co-op, the Evergreen Surgery and in Tesco.

It’s hard to say what is the benefit of these new boards to residents, council tax-payers or voters.  The inspector believes they contribute to “vitality and viability” of the street. Again, the logic is set out below.

  • Last year Redbridge Planning set rules on the images which could be shown on a new board which was installed outside Tesco as part of a public phone which will also never be used, including that they are not video, don’t flash, don’t change more often than every 10 seconds and aren’t too bright. 

Snaresbrook is changing

Former Bombetta

Things are changing in Snaresbrook. The last remains of Bombetta have, sadly, been removed from Station Approach. On the other side of the High Street there is the positive development of the former Keaton’s office becoming occupied by a new gym, and a generally good feeling about the row of shops – not least Buller & Rice and the impressive SP coffee shop.

However the notice at the station outweighs them all. The development planned for the car park is fiercely opposed by residents who say it is far too big and too tall for the space it will sit on. New homes are needed and welcome, but building developments have to be appropriate to the space they want to occupy.

New gym