United Reform Church, Muswell Hill


The proposed mezzanine floor on two sides

Taylor Walker's designs for converting the church into a public house.
Presentation drawings by Paul Dickinson and Associates.

The application to open a pub was greeted with alarm by people in neighbouring streets, who were very concerned with the effect of a pub drawing in young people from a long distance, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. Taylor Walker had already attempted to open a pub further along the Broadway and, in face of local opposition, had decided instead to open Cafe Toto, a thirty five seat restaurant, near Boot's. Now they were trying again.

Local residents, concerned about increased noise and car parking, held a protest meeting in The Crocodile Antiques shop opposite the Church. These protests continued at the Council Planning meeting. Suggestions of an extra restaurant or a community centre were made, but not backed by any realistic money. On the other hand everyone agreed that a viable use for the building had to be found or it would decay.

The meeting was adjourned to give everyone a chance to produce alternative schemes, but when it was reconvened, on 30 May 1995, no such scheme emerged. The Council then gave Taylor Walker planning permission to convert the building providing it was adequately insulated against sound.

The building has been pen as a pub for a number of years and seems to have settled surprisingly comfortably into the street scene. The Building has been saved and the Broadway is intact, but the money-grabbing prevarication by the Church has deprived the area of a fine conert hall with a splendid organ. people will be able to judge whether this was wise or not.

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Paul Dickinson & Associates

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