ISSUE: The Tabard Inn
Knockout Punch for Historic Bedford Park Pub?
This article was written by a member of the informal group which has been started to save the Tabard
“They’re trying to sell off the crown jewels”, said one local drinker. Without warning, a small notice has been placed telling locals that plans to ‘refurbish’ the pub can be viewed in the local library. Representations have to be made within a fortnight. But already Tabard regulars are lining-up to demand answers to the hidden details.
Save The Tabard Campaign has posted flyers in local shops
inviting people to complain directly to the Hounslow
Council Planning Committee. High amongst the list
of ambiguities is a plan to convert upper rooms in the
pub to make two separate flats. Like all genuine ‘locals’,
these have traditionally been used as a home for bar
staff. So any idea they might be sold-off is the cause
of widespread disgust.
Gray has informed Punch Retail of these concerns. “Their
response has been completely negative”, he said.
“They’ve said they want the theatre to remain but
I get the impression this isn’t the case. The fact they’re
only offering a one year lease is an obvious concern.
But already their plans have completely ruined my autumn
programme of shows. They keep changing their mind when
they want the work to begin - even though they haven’t
yet got Council permission. So I’m left in complete limbo.”
But it doesn’t end there. To many locals the plans are being interpreted as the death knell for thriving local organisations using the pub as a base: the theatre, the Tabard prize-winning quiz team and the popular Pilgrims Cricket Club. It appears that further plans to create a restaurant downstairs would mean an end to the quiz team. “Every Tuesday night for years we’ve had some thirty locals gathered in the back bar for quiz night”, says local organiser Hugh Fottrell. “Our local teams have won so many trophies it’s hard to keep count. Any plan to convert that space into a restaurant would kill the lot.”
“Does Bedford Park really need another restaurant”,
said quiz regular Nick Mason. “We’ve got one glorious
old pub in this area - and hundreds of good restaurants
within walking distance. If you ask me the whole project
will flop and the community will have lost one of its
prize focal points”
Still more Tabard regulars are aggrieved for other reasons. “They’re taking out the William Morris carpets and putting down a wooden floor,” said Dave Major. “It’s the Cool Britannia mentality, a five minute wonder.” And sports fan Mike West is scathing at the notion that the wide-screen TV looks likely to go. “Every time there’s a big event this room’s bursting with people watching. These idiots haven’t got a clue what they’re chucking away.”
If this issue is of concern to you write to the following address suggesting approval be denied for the current plans. Pre-drafted letters for you to sign are in shops around the Tabard.