Group has just eight days to save the Antwerp Arms

A community group has just eight days to buy their local pub and save it from being converted into flats.

The Antwerp Arms on Church Street, Tottenham must be bought by members of the Antwerp Arms Association by May 22 if they are to save it from the risk of closure.

The group needs to raise a total of £125,000, with the rest of the money coming from a Social Investment Business grant and a loan from community finance group.

Campaigners applied for the pub to be listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) in summer 2013, giving them the right to buy it if it was put on the market.

The listing means tthe pub must stay a pub and cannot be converted into flats and sold unless the owner proves that running a pub on the site is uneconomical.

Dick Tomlinson, secretary of the Antwerp Arms Association, is concerned that if the group fails to raise enough money to purchase the pub then its current owners, a development company, will make a case to the council that the pub is unprofitable and sell it off as flats.

He said: “If we fail then all bids are off. We know that we can turn it into a thriving pub, but we’ll have to raise a substantial contribution.

“I’m incredibly confident that we can raise the funds. We’ve got lots of people who are connected to some big hitters. There’s every chance we’ll get some money soon, there’s so much good will surrounding the place.”

Tomlinson, a regular at the pub and a tree surgeon, said that he was excited by the idea of working on the pub's garden.

Cheryl Cohen, the founder of the Tottenham Ploughman events, said: “I’ve pledged support and given some money.

“It’s a great thing to have in the community, it’s such a great thing for Tottenham. I hope that more people come forward because I know they need to raise a lot more money.”

The Redemption Brewery is backing the campaign to keep the pub open. Brewery owner Andy Moffat said: “It’s a shame that a developer has got hold of it, really. I think they bought a portfolio of pubs, at the time, of which this was one.

“That pub has been there for a number of years, and people are interested in the conservation of Tottenham. They don’t want to see it changing.

“The community want to have that kind of pub where you get people sitting down and enjoying a drink or having a coffee.”

Ashley Grey, who lives just behind the pub at Prospect Place, says the effort to keep the pub open had been an eye-opening experience, She said: “It’s been so exciting finding out who lives in the area and who has what skills.

"You find all sorts of people suddenly saying, ‘Yes, there’s a chance that this could be the best pub in London!’ And we might be able to keep it open! It goes to show: don’t get angry, get active.

"The pub isn’t perfect, but it’s all we’ve got. It’s been there since 1830. In summer it’s the Tottenham Riviera and in the winter it’s a beacon of light, keeping the area safe and warm.”

Shares in the pub can be bought on the group’s microgenius page, and a “pledge party” will be held on Sunday, May 18 at the Antwerp Arms.

A free ploughman’s lunch, including beer, will be given to anyone who turns up and pledges, or has already pledged.

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