Business development · 13 November 2015

Landlord bars 800 campaigners for getting his pub listed, calling them “hypocrites in cardigans”

Coxshall has owned the Duke of Hamilton pub for five years
Coxshall has owned the Duke of Hamilton pub for five years

A landlord has barred 800 people from his pub, after they launched a successful campaign to make it more difficult for him to sell off.

Steve Coxshall, who used to manage boyband Blue, called the group of individuals “hypocrites in cardigans” and accused them of failing to fully support his business, since they only drink half pints.

The owner of the 300-year-old Duke of Hamilton pub in Hampstead, North West London, became angry after Camden Council made the decision to list the pub as an asset of community value (ACV). If Coxshall decides to sell the pub, the community would then have six months to try and raise enough money to buy it off him.

Listed as an ACV, Coxshall has to notify the local council if he wants to sell it, so locals have a chance to take it over.

The former stockbroker though, feels he shouldn’t have to wait that long if his business runs into trouble as he would need to sell quickly to pay his bills.

“They are all barred from the pub. I bought the pub to save it. But if you’ve got a pub and there is an economic downturn, what is the point of an ACV if there is no business? If you have a six-month window where you can’t sell it, who is going to pay the bills?”

He criticised the campaigners, saying “they haven’t put any money into the pub – they are just a bunch of hypocrites in cardigans”.

The proposal was recently approved by Camden Council, after members of the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum campaigned for it successfully.

The chair of the Forum, Janine Griffis, said: “I think it would be unfortunate if Steve didn’t want members to come because we have over 800 members. We are delighted that Camden has decided to list The Duke, and we wish Steve and the pub all the best.”

It was one of 12 pubs the forum wanted to protect by planning legislation in a bid to prevent their closure. Coxshall has since lodged a formal objection to the ACV with the councils.

Speaking to the Camden New Journal, Coxshall said: “They don’t drink in here and if they do come in, they only order half of a half pints.” He also said customers weren’t local and therefore didn’t “contribute to the social wellbeing” of the community.

Camden pointed to the 2010 “Save the Duke” campaign as well as the participation of the pub theatre in the Camden Fringe Festival as evidence of the “strength of local feeling” for the venue.

Two other Hampstead pubs were also given ACV protection – the Holly Bush in Holly Mount and the King William IV in Hampstead High Street.

Image: Eric Huybrechts

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Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.