Features Leyton

New hope for The Antelope

The historic pub was almost converted into studio flats after it shut down in 2014
By Victoria Munro

Michelle and Curran, two of ten potential future directors, outside The Antelope (credit: Patrick Dowse)
Michelle and Curran, two of ten potential future directors, outside The Antelope (credit: Patrick Dowse)

A Leyton pub which shut down after 140 years is set to make a triumphant return – this time owned by the community.

After The Antelope in Church Road closed in 2014, neighbours were horrified to realise owner Tvzi Ltd was illegally converting it into studio flats.

Waltham Forest Council ordered the company to reverse the changes and successfully fought off an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate in late 2020, forcing Tvzi to put the lease up for sale once more last October.

Rather than wait for a chain to swoop in, the pub’s devoted neighbours are banding together to ensure it is run as a non-profit by and for the people of Leyton.

(Credit: Patrick Dowse)

Michelle Connolly and Curran McKay, two of ten directors who will run the pub, told the Echo they have “a verbal offer” to buy the lease.

Curran said: “We got over one big hurdle stopping it being turned into flats and now the next step is, not just turning it from a derelict building into a pub, but making it a viable one.

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“Our goal is to make it more than just a pub because nowadays those ‘wet-led’ businesses that are just about selling beers can’t really sustain themselves anymore.”

After surveying hundreds of local residents about what they’d most like to see – with the most popular option being a Sunday roast – the group are keen to ensure there is something for everyone.

Michelle said: “With the expansion of the ward, it will be crucial to have somewhere the community feels is their own space so they can come together and share good times, whether that’s getting a coffee after dropping the kids off at school or celebrating after a football game at Leyton Orient.

“We’d like to thank everyone for their patience with this, it’s been a really long slog but the momentum has stayed up.”

Previously, a spokesperson for estate agent told the Echo the lease was on the market for “around £50,000”.

With support from the Plunkett Foundation, a charity that supports community-owned enterprises, the group plans to sell shares to the community and apply for grants to raise the funds.

First, however, a surveyor will need to assess how much work is needed to make the building usable, with one obvious fix being creating a new side entrance for the upstairs residents.

Curran added: “The space looks like a DIY shop inside, you wouldn’t know it was a pub, so we’re kind of starting again from scratch.

“But this is the first time living in London that I have felt like a part of a community. People don’t want to lose that because of all the high-rises [being built] in the borough and just become a sleepy commuter belt for people going into central London.”

Find out more by visiting The Antelope Pub E10 Community Interest Group on Facebook

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