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Celebrity pub set to chalk up victory in planning battle

PUBLISHED: 21:02 01 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:24 05 October 2010

A CAMPAIGN backed by Kate Moss, Amy Winehouse, Sir Ian McKellen and MP George Galloway to preserve the future of a listed East End pub looks set for a famous victory. Tower Hamlets planning officers are urging councillors to reject an application that threatens The George tavern in Stepney

Ted Jeory

A CAMPAIGN backed by Kate Moss, Amy Winehouse, Sir Ian McKellen and MP George Galloway to preserve the future of a listed East End pub looks set for a famous victory.

The East London Advertiser has discovered that Tower Hamlets planning officers are urging councillors to reject an application that threatens The George Tavern in Stepney.

Politicians make their final decision at a committee hearing tomorrow night (July 2), but officers have recommended they refuse an application by Swan housing association.

Swan wants to demolish Stepney's nightclub, which adjoins The George in Commercial Road, and build a block of flats on the site.

But pub landlady, artist and Advertiser columnist Pauline Forster feared that would spell doom for The George, which is not only a haven for music lovers and other creative types, but also ordinary East Enders.

Backed by a glittering array of A-list celebrities, she argued a five-storey block of flats next door would trigger floods of complaints about noise from any new neighbours.

Council officers have now agreed.

In their report for tomorrow's hearing, they say Swan's proposals are contrary to a raft of council planning policies.

Not only is the scale of the proposed development too "dominant," but they say it would result in an "unacceptable increased sense of enclosure to the occupiers of the upper floors of The George Tavern."

The loss of daylight to the pub's lower floors, which act as studios for artists, would also be against planning law, they said.

Council officers say the pub's beer garden would result in "unacceptable noise nuisance" for any future residents of the new development.

More than 500 people have officially objected to the plans, although Swan's supporters included the residents' board of the Exmouth housing estate next door who complain that Stepney's nightclub is a derelict eyesore.

The plans are due to be heard at the Town Hall at 7.30pm Wednesday.

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