Lincolns: An open letter from FARA

This letter was sent to David King, Council Licensing Officer, and copied to the Police licensing officers and our local councillors.

3rd March 2009

Dear David,

Closure of Lincolns Public House

I am writing on behalf of the Ferndale Area Residents Association to express our relief that after years of causing misery to local residents Lincolns Pub has at last ceased trading.

We are however aware that the appeal against the decision to revoke Lincolns’ licence could still go ahead, and that Lincolns may reopen as a licensed premises in future.

Given the severe problems which local residents have had to endure of noise nuisance, anti social behaviour, drug dealing, drunk driving, violence and intimidation associated with Lincolns we are very keen to ensure that these problems are not allowed to develop again.

We would therefore like to make our views clear about the factors we believe should be taken into consideration before the pub is allowed to reopen, and about the kind of pub we would like to see in the middle of our community.

We believe that to ensure a complete break from the past the pub should remain shut for at least 3 months (and ideally longer) before opening as a licensed premises again. It cannot be allowed to become ‘Lincolns #2’, with drug dealers and problem drinkers simply coming back again after a short break.

In addition we believe that it is essential, given the history of the pub, that any future manager of Lincolns has considerable prior experience of running a licensed premises before they are allowed to become Designated Premises Supervisor. Neither Marshall Maphosa nor Jerry Nyoni had this experience when they took over the running this pub, which already had serious problems, and they were unable to control the situation.

If the pub is granted a licence again we would wish to establish relations with the new manager/s before it reopens, to discuss concerns on either side, build trust and ensure the problems of the past can be avoided.

Lincolns has been a licensed premises for over 100 years and has had several different identities during this time, including The Elms and Big Hand Mo’s, each of which has had their own character. We would like it to return to being a community pub that welcomes young and old, families and all sectors of our diverse local community. We would like it to be run by a manager who cares about the impact of the pub on the local area and on residents, and is willing to listen to them and work with them.

Lincolns is now surrounded by houses and flats, some only a few feet away, and we do not believe it would be acceptable for the pub to be allowed to become a late night drinking venue or night club, considering the problems this has caused in the past (and still does cause at other pubs along the High Road such as Zulus and the Sheep Walk). In addition we never again want to see a return to the situation where dozens of patrons drive to the pub from well beyond the local area for late night drinking and entertainment, causing parking problems, traffic chaos and frequent drink related confrontations and accidents.

We are also concerned about the structure and fabric of the pub. This is a historic building on Leytonstone High Road, and yet it had been allowed to go to ruin to the point where it is now a dilapidated eyesore. We believe that considerable repairs should be carried out before the pub reopens, including restoring the first floor following fire damage, mending the many broken windows and repairing the crumbling outer area. The pub also needs to be made accessible to those with mobility problems.

We believe that the residential community that surrounds Lincolns would welcome and support a well-run community pub and we hope and trust that the points made above will be given serious consideration by all relevant parties (in particular Trust Inns) before the pub is allowed to reopen.

Yours sincerely,

Jane Sterland
Chair, Ferndale Area Residents Association

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