A CAMPAIGN has been launched by Queen's Park residents to save the well-known Irish pub, The Corrib Rest, from development into luxury flats.
The pub was purchased by developers Ashcross Ltd for £4.1million in 2015 and has remained empty and out of use for over two years.
Two separate planning applications were made to Brent Council after the site’s purchase but both were subsequently turned down due to insufficient community space.
On Sunday, over 100 members of the Save The Corrib Rest NW6 campaign group assembled outside the pub to air their grievances and sign a petition to save the establishment from development.
The pub, which was previously the Aras na Gael centre, is seen as an important hub for the Irish community in north-west London.
Campaigners say they fear that a third planning application is about to be made which could spell an end to The Corrib Rest’s historic connection to the Irish community in Brent.
“Two other Irish community centres have already gone from the area in recent years,” said Kevin Barrett, organiser of the Save The Corrib Rest NW6 group.
“We will object to any new planning application made to Brent Council but we need as much vocal support as possible to show them that we mean business.
“It would be a real shame to lose such an important symbol of the Irish community in this part of London.”
Local residents won their battle to have the pub listed as an Asset of Community Value in 2015, meaning the site’s use as a community venue must be considered as part of any future plans.
The Corrib Rest forms part of a larger building featuring a number of function rooms which remain in frequent use by the local old-age Irish pensioners club and other groups.
The most recent planning application submitted by Ashcross Ltd proposed just one hour of community use a week, despite Irish pensioners using the site for an entire afternoon each week and other activities such as music evenings taking up several hours each day.
The Corrib Rest was bought by the Brent Irish Cultural and Community Association in 1983 and plans to make a cultural centre for the local Irish community were championed by then Mayor Ken Livingstone.
The Aras na Gael centre, as The Corrib Rest was known then, became a watering hole among the Irish community in the local area and numerous weddings, christenings and wakes have all taken place there.
The pub was bought by a private buyer in 1988, before being sold again in 2000.
A spokesperson for Queen's Park Area Residents’ Association (QPARA), said: “Since pub operators Greencoats sold the Corrib Rest to property developer Ashcross in early 2015, QPARA has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure that a viable pub and community room continue on the premises and that neighbouring residents are protected from any noise and nuisance arising.
“In principle, we are intending to welcome changes in the community provision and protection for local residents that have been made in response to our representations but we are not supporting or opposing the development as a whole.”
A QPARA meeting will take place on Thursday, February 9 in St Anne's Church at 7.30pm and is open to the public, so supporters of the pub's plight are welcome to attend and voice their concerns.