September 3 2014 Latest news:
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Harry Kemble, Reporter
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Tesco has confirmed its interest in buying the derelict Grade II listed Doctor Johnson pub in Barkingside.
The building in Longwood Gardens, owned by Cloverton Properties Limited, was entered by squatter group Suspenses Property Guardians (SPG) last month, before it voluntarily left after six days.
SPG want to hold community events at the site, believing it can persuade local residents it is the best option to repair the building and put it to good use.
The group leader of SPG, known as “Gee”, said: “If people want a Tesco then that is what they want, but hopefully something else will come along that people really want in the mean time. That is what we want to do.”
SPG held a music concert for the community in the Doctor Johnson pub car park earlier this month.
A Tesco spokesman confirmed it will work with residents on any proposals it has for the site.
The spokesman said: “We are interested in bringing this derelict building back to use. “We know the building is important to the local community and are keen to consult with them on any proposals we bring forward.
“[We] will keep them updated as our plans progress.”
Stacy Ismael, owner of Paw-fect, a business opposite the Doctor Johnson pub, said news of Tesco’s interest was “fantastic”.
She said: “It has been empty for a long time - it is like an eye sore.
“I understand the squatters want to run community events from the pub and that is fine for an interim period.
“I think they are aware that as soon as the building is bought they will leave. They do not want to trash the building.”
Nigar Osmen, who runs beauty therapist Ultra-Figure in Longwood Gardens, also said she would prefer a new Tesco.
“I would prefer a new Tesco to a community project. We have spoken to the squatters and they have heard our views.”
Cloverton Properties Limited declined to comment, when approached by the Ilford Recorder.