George IV pub, Brixton Hill, listed as community asset after Tesco plans

SQUATTED Tesco intend to turn the George IV into a store
HISTORIC: Tesco intend to turn the George IV into a store

By Saara Jaffery-Roberts

An historic pub threatened with being made into a Tesco Express store has been listed as a vital community asset by Lambeth council.

The George IV,  Brixton Hill, will be one of the first buildings in the borough to be deemed an “asset of community value” under new legislation that gives local residents a chance to protect local landmarks.

The community bid to list George IV follows recent plans by Tesco to redevelop the Victorian pub into an Express store. A Lambeth council planning committee  recently deferred Tesco’s proposal for signage and an access ramp.

Local MP and Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, said “Lambeth’s decision to list George IV site as an asset of community value is fantastic news – we place incredible value on the unique character of our area and the listing shows that”.

Founder of the Save George IV campaign Andrew Child said that the listing is a symbolic recognition of community values, and that the huge support for the bid represents the “united stand” taken by the community against the supermarket giant.

Child added: “We are thrilled to have achieved this listing, which recognises what this campaign has been saying all along: that this pub is an important community space. Its value to the community will obviously be lost if Tesco presses ahead with plans to turn the George IV into a supermarket.

Campaigners at a meeting against Tesco last year. Picture by Brixton Blog
Campaigners at a meeting against Tesco last year. Picture by Brixton Blog

“We urge Tesco to now seriously reconsider its plans which will do real damage to its brand in this part of London, depriving the local community of a much valued local pub and adding another supermarket which Chuka Ummuna has described as ‘not needed or wanted’. Tesco could instead project a very different image and use its expertise to work with the local community to reopen the George as a community pub.”

New legislation brought in under the Localism Act enables communities to list buildings and land they consider to be of special value to the community. In the event that a listed asset comes up for sale, communities are given a window of 6 months to put together a bid to then purchase it. This legislation gives communities the opportunity to protect and save much loved shops, pubs or other local facilities.

A spokesperson for Tesco said: “Although this news comes after us taking on the lease, we recognise this is an important community building. This is why we have worked closely with Lambeth council’s conservation officer on sensitive restoration plans which were recommended for approval. We look forward to hearing the council’s decision in the coming weeks.”

The campaign group to save George IV has collected over 3000 signatures on a petition to save the pub from being transformed into another Tesco.



  1. Any reason to think people will go to this proposed “community pub” if and when it opens? Or who is going to put together the money to buy the building when it comes on the open market? Or whether the owners would even want to sell (Tesco only have a lease)?

    Otherwise brilliant plan. I’m sure all the people who used to drink in the King of Sardinia will flock there

  2. The pub failed becaue it was not well frequented, end of story. Now it is a squat and I do not see that as a public community asset. God knows what led Lambeth to make this decision, but i really wish the support the decision got had manifested itself in real support for the pub biusiness that existed there ebfore, then they would not have folded.

    So much protest but where were the protesters when the Pub needed them?. I wonder if Tesco had opened up then if they really were ‘not wanted or needed’ as Mr career politician Umna had said, then they too would fail to maintain a solvent business. So why were they not given the chance to try?

    Hypocrisy and double standards all round, I am sad to see.

  3. I am incredibly pleased abouit the temporary ban on Tesco’s attempts to get in there. But I am not sure whether we have seen the back of them.
    Pubs are in trouble and they are hard to maintain profitable, however I am sure it just takes a clever business idea to make something really sustainable and successful.
    We need quality food stuffs, an artisan bakery or Viennoisery, just anything bold and revolutionary different!
    Something that creates KUDOS.
    Personally, I would love to see an independent plant nursery there as the entire area (Tiles Magic already there) leans towards developing an arts and design centre: let’s have a ‘Chelsea Harbour’ but Brixton Style! Let’s redevelop this whole ugly stretch from Blenheim Gardens (Capital Printers Building), over the many empty ‘halls of worship’, dodgy car dealers, up to the prison wall and create an alternative ‘furniture village’ with arts and crafts, haberdashery, electrical and lightning, furniture and plant nursery and gardening goods.

    ANYTHING BUT another big brand supermarket. Thanks

  4. Well Done to the local people who mobilised to bring George IV to this point; And good luck to them in persuading Tesco to look at changing tack on this particular pub which is one of around 200 that Tesco have been involved with converting to use as local supermarket use in recent years

    What’s happening to George IV is both symptomatic and emblematic of the state of the whole of Britain’s pub sector which is intensive care without any emergency staff on duty.

    While Tesco are understandably in the firing line for wanting to convert properties into local shops when they are in high footfall locations slap bang in the middle of their target audience’s demographic, the main culprits of the act are the intransigent pub companies who owned the pubs in the first place. These companies care nothing for pubs, for beer or for community; they exist solely for the extraction of the maximum amount of profit from the buildings they own on the back of a business model which demands that other people are the sole source of investment in their properties through the tied lease ‘business model’ which also obliges their tenants to buy supplies from the freeholder at twice the prevailing open market rate… the tied pubco’s own more than HALF of all British pubs – it’s hardly surprising the British tied pub sector is failing everyone – from customers and communities to lessees, suppliers and local economies everywhere. Everyone that is, except the pubco’s for whom selling off pubs for alternative use is simply the end game for companies involved solely in asset stripping for short term gain rather than in creating any form of sustainable value at any level of operation.

  5. What a shame Mr Umunna and local councillors, who have all been clapping each other across the back on Twitter – as if if this success wasn’t caused by banner waving activists and squatter activists – didn’t manage (or wish) to list the 1909 Duke of Wellington pub on Acre Lane, when it was bought up by Genesis housing, squatted, left to rot for over two years and then recently demolished, against residents protests, to make way for “affordable”( ie 20% off market rates) flats.

    Well done chaps .Bravo…

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