News Walthamstow

Manager of beloved Walthamstow pub pushed out after ten years

Manager Andy Potter took over the pub ten years ago and transformed it into a profitable business
By Victoria Munro

The Bell pub in Walthamstow (credit: Penny Dampier)
The Bell pub in Walthamstow (credit: Penny Dampier)

One of the borough’s best boozers is being taken over by the largest pub company in the UK, pushing out the manager who transformed it over ten years.

The Bell in Forest Road, Walthamstow, was among nine local pubs listed among the nation’s best by the Campaign for Real Ale last year and has won multiple awards.

The pub, which “used to be somewhere to walk past in a hurry”, was transformed by Andy Potter, who took over the lease in 2012 from Stonegate Group.

However, his bid to renew the lease was rejected by Stonegate, which operates 4,800 pubs and is registered in the Cayman Islands, who will take back ownership on 19th September.

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Assistant manager Patrick told the Echo: “They decided to take the pub back because it was profitable. Andy took it on and put it back on the map.

“All the staff are keeping their jobs but Andy has decided he won’t take on any other pub because he couldn’t put this much effort into a new place, it took about five years for it to become profitable. 

“He’s hoping everything will be alright for us. He built this place for the community here and it’s been really appreciated during this time.”

Responding to the news on Twitter, Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy said she was “gutted” the pub was being turned over.

She added: “When you have a successful bar, a cynic would wonder why a [company] would change that.”

When contacted for comment, a spokesperson for Stonegate Group said: “The incumbent tenant’s lease comes to an end in September, the business will then be moving across to our managed estate.

“We would like to thank our pub partners for all their hard work and dedication over the years.

“There will be a period of closure while we invest in the pub and we aim to reopen as soon as possible.”

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