East Barnet's last remaining public house, the Prince of Wales -- which closed in mid-February -- has been registered by Barnet Council as an asset of community value which will provide a limited degree of protection against immediate redevelopment.


Lawyers for the owners, the Stonegate Group, failed turn up at a meeting to discuss the pub’s future.

After he heard the application, council leader, Barry Rawlings, agreed the Prince of Wales should be added to Barnet’s list of buildings considered to be community assets.

For some weeks there have been indications that Stonegate do intend to sell the Prince of Wales to another pub company but have yet to complete a sale.

Perhaps a delay in Stonegate concluding a deal is not surprising following the closure across the country of over 500 pubs last year and the fears that another 750 could shut in the first half of 2024.

Rob White, secretary of East Barnet Residents Association, who organised a petition to keep the pub open, welcomed the council’s decision and said it would give the community time to consider various options for saving the pub.

“If we find out the Prince of Wales is being sold to a housing developer, we will mobilise support to try to raise the funds to buy it ourselves and run it as a community-owned pub.

“There has been quite a lot of interest in saving the pub which has become a vital community hub and a meeting point for numerous organisations and initiatives in East Barnet village.”

Mr White, who was supported at the hearing by the three East Barnet ward councillors, said the community would have no objections if the Prince of Wales was purchased by a pub company and re-opened for business.

“We waited ten minutes for the owners or their lawyers to turn up, but they didn’t.

“We made the case for nominating the Prince of Wales as a community asset and Barry Rawlings agreed, so he will add it to the council’s list.”

Stonegate do have a right of appeal but unless the decision is changed a restriction on the title to the land will be registered with HM Land Registry.

Once an ACV is registered, an owner wishing to sell the asset or to lease it for more than 25 years, is legally obliged to notify the relevant local authority.

Barnet Council will then inform the residents association which would signal an interim moratorium period of six weeks during which it could express an interest in taking on the asset.

“If the association does express an interest in taking on the Prince of Wales, then a full moratorium is triggered and the property may not be sold on the market for a six-month period,” said Mr White.

“This would give us time to consider the options.”

Within days of hearing the shock news in mid-January that the Prince of Wales was about to close, East Barnet village fought back, fearing the pub might be demolished to make way for a block of flats.

A mass lobby was held outside demanding the pub should be saved and a petition collected over 2,000 signatures.

Stonegate, which spent £290,000 refurbishing the Prince of Wales in the summer of 2022, is being forced by financial pressures to reduce its vast portfolio of 4,500 licensed premises. 

Until recent years there were three pubs within East Barnet village and the closure has shocked regular customers.

There has been a public house on the same site – close to the junction of Church Hill Road and Cat Hill – since 1876. The first licensee of the Prince of Wales was William Jackson who built houses in the adjoining Jackson Road.