Within four days of hearing the shock news that the Prince of Wales is to close East Barnet village is fighting back with more than 2,000 signatures on a petition and a mass lobby demanding that the pub should be saved.


Over 60 regulars and residents joined the protest. They were supported by Barnet Councillors, residents’ association representatives and Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers.

Stonegate Group, which has been forced to reduce its vast portfolio of 4,500 licensed premises, has told customers that the Prince of Wales, which is already in the process of being sold, will close on Wednesday 14 February.

As a first step East Barnet Residents Association is preparing an application to see if the Prince of Wales – the one and only pub in East Barnet village – can be registered as an asset of community value.

Rob White, the association’s secretary, is collecting the evidence to support their case that the people of East Barnet rely on the pub as a vital community hub and meeting point for numerous organisations and village initiatives.

“We launched a petition and topped 2,000 signatures in four days which just shows the strength of local support for our campaign to keep the pub open.

“We have cross-party backing and are demanding that the Stonegate Group come clean and tell us precisely to whom the pub has been sold,” said Mr White (seen above, from left to right with Labour Councillor Phil Cohen, Conservative MP Theresa Villiers, Rob White, and Conservative Councillor Jennifer Grocock).  

Councillor Cohen, who launched efforts to try to save the Prince of Wales, said that if the pub could be registered with Barnet Council as an asset of community value it would give the community of East Barnet village a breathing space.

“Stonegate are being very secretive about their intentions. We don’t know to whom the pub is being sold or whether it is going to become a mini supermarket, redeveloped as flats or whatever. We do deserve some answers.

“By registering the Prince of Wales as an asset of community value we can at least engage Barnet Council and see what can be done.

“If it can be registered, the community get six months to see if it can organise a community buy-out or exercise some influence over whether it should continue to be run as a public house.

“Residents tell me the Prince of Wales has been at the centre of the community for over 100 years. It is literally the heart of East Barnet village and must not be sold off and lost.”

Councillor Jennifer Grocock, chair of the East Barnet ward community action panel, said the loss of the Prince of Wales would be a real blow.

“All sorts of local groups hold informal meetings at the pub. There is plenty of space and a warm welcome. All you have to do is buy a drink or cup of tea, and then you can sit round and have a chat and it is that sort of informal contact that communities thrive on.”

Theresa Villiers said that as constituency MP she knew the value of community public houses. “I was determined to be here to show my support, even though it is a big day at Westminster, and I needed a special dispensation from the government whips.”

Among the residents turning out in support were Sally Giovanelli (left) and Norma Steel, who were both aghast at the thought the pub could close and might be replaced with flats.

“I have known this area since the 1950s and the Prince of Wales has a real community feel where you can have a meal or sit in the garden at the back. It would be terrible if it was knocked down for a block of flats,” said Norma.

Sally, who was a teacher at Danegrove Primary School for 20 years, said the pub was a regular meeting place when teachers and teaching assistants needed to get together and have a chat.

“As a society we cannot underestimate the importance of a village pub. People who are lonely, often single men, feel really welcome in a pub. For them there is a sense of community, which is quite different from going to a coffee bar or cafe.”

News that the Prince of Wales was to close came as a shock to James Westrope (left) of agents Chas R Lowe Estates whose offices are a few doors away from the pub.

“It has always seemed to be successful as a public house, so news of closure came as a real surprise. I doubt that another pub company has bought it, given the position of the trade.

“Perhaps it has gone to a developer. We can only hope that if it is built on above that at least there is a pub on the ground floor.”

Councillor Phil Cohen said that he had spoken to the staff who were being made redundant and offered his support. The staff weren’t sure who was buying the pub, but they thought it was going to be used for something like another restaurant or mini supermarket rather than being redeveloped as flats.

“All this uncertainty isn’t fair on the staff or the local community. Hopefully we can get some answers as soon as possible.”

Save Prince of Wales petition: https://chng.it/m4Q5956Gxn

To contact East Barnet Residents Association regarding registration of Prince of Wales as an asset of community value, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.