Westminster Labour councillors were angered today by the announcement that the much-loved Truscott Arms pub has been forced to close because the unscrupulous owners of the building have decided to hike up the rent from £75,000 per year to a wildly over-inflated £250,000 per year.
Local residents are outraged that this well-loved and successful pub, home to the best roast lunches in Britain (according to a 2014 UK competition), has been driven out of business by what seems to be a transparent attempt to remove the existing tenant. The pub and its owners have played an active role in supporting the local community since it opened and many are residents now returning the favour to help save the Truscott Arms. With no pub likely to be able to pay anything close to £250,000 per year, residents understandably fear that despite the Truscott’s well deserved Asset of Community Value status this may be the start of an attempt by the pub’s owners to convert the building to luxury flats.
Upon hearing the news Labour Group Leader Cllr Adam Hug wrote to Westminster Council’s Chief Executive Charlie Parker and Executive Director for Growth, Planning and Housing Ed Watson calling for urgent action by the local authority.
Cllr Hug added “In the few years since the Truscott Arms opened it has become a beloved fixture in our local community; it has hosted many happy family occasions in my life as it has for so many other residents, which is why we are so angry about the unscrupulous behaviour of the building’s owners. Westminster Council must come out quickly and clearly to reconfirm its support of the Asset of Community Value status and stand with residents who will resist any attempt to convert this wonderful pub into more unwanted luxury flats. Labour councillors will stand with local residents to fight this destructive act and try to save the Truscott Arms.”
The text of Cllr Hug’s message to council officers is as follows:
Dear Charlie and Ed
I’ve just been made aware of the enforced closure of one of Westminster’s best pubs- the Truscott Arms by the owners of the property who have jacked up the rents to punitive levels in order to be able to turn the pub into residential. The site has an ACV but given the value of the site it will be challenging to achieve a community purchase. Can we please have a strong and urgent public steer that the Council would not support a proposed change of use from pub to residential on this important site. Can we please add this to the agenda for my meeting with Charlie next week but can we please have an answer much more urgently than that. Best regards Adam