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Seven-year ditch: Clayhall Grade II listed pub left to rot in rubbish

PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 February 2017 | UPDATED: 09:35 10 February 2017

Residents are angered by the area around the Dr Johnson pub being turned into a dumping ground for rubbish

Residents are angered by the area around the Dr Johnson pub being turned into a dumping ground for rubbish

Archant

Disgruntled residents are calling for action after a disused pub has been plagued by rats, flooding and fly–tipping for seven years.

Rubbish at the site. All images Ken Mears.Rubbish at the site. All images Ken Mears.

Since its closure in 2010 the Grade II listed Doctor Johnson, Longwood Gardens, Clayhall, has become an eyesore with residents asking why numerous planning applications to transform the land into houses and shops have been turned down.

Husband and wife Roger and Angela Norwood live five doors away from the pub and say they are fed up with calling Redbridge Council almost every month for the site to be cleared of rubbish.

“It’s valuable land and takes up a huge area and we have such a housing shortage in Redbridge,” said Angela.

“If they can’t find a use for it in seven years when will they?” added Roger.

Helen Katz, 62, has lived near the former pub for 30 years and said the area has declined rapidly since it closed.

“We are a forgotten street – look at the state of it, we are left to rot,” she said.

“People don’t want to move here even with the Central line just down the road.

“Why would you pay half a million to live in a dump?”

Ms Katz said the situation worsens at night and the land is a “death trap” with so many potholes.

In addition, the residents reported that the pub has been vandalised, stripped of copper piping and has housed squatters. The vast cellar also had to be drained of stagnant water and rats are regularly seen.

“We’re sorry that this once beautiful building has gone to rack and ruin, it is a dumping ground with fridge freezers and broken bottles,” said Tom Gough, 69. “It’s absolutely disgusting.”

A council spokesman said the majority of planning applications were withdrawn by the applicants and officers are liaising with parties to “bring forward works that preserve the fabric of the building”.

“We are currently working with Historic England to bring forward formal action to resolve this situation, however we have no jurisdiction to require the owner of the site, or other parties to submit a planning application for redevelopment.”

He added that the council wanted “a mixed-use development”, with housing.


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