Exclusive: Foxtons estate agents set to move into Kentish Town pub

Friday, 26th December 2014

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Published: 26 December, 2014
EXCLUSIVE By DAN CARRIER

ESTATE agent chain Foxtons are hoping to open a branch on Kentish Town Road in a building that was once a popular, bustling pub.

Once known as Auntie Annie's Porter House and more recently Hoot n Annies, the bar the UK-wide house selling firm have targeted is on the corner of Patshull Road and Kentish Town Road.

It finally closed its doors in July of 2014, when publican Maria Connelly retired.

The New Journal has learned Foxtons are applying for planning permission to alter the four-storey Victorian pub. They do not need any permission for change of use, but hope to put up new facades that include floor-to-ceiling height windows to display houses for sale.

In a planning application, Foxtons say they will change the ground-floor bar and basement into an estate agent's office and they want to create large picture windows on both the west-facing and south-facing street side walls of the building. They have also requested permission to include two lit Foxton signs.

In their application, they say: “In our view, the proposed shopfront improves the appearance and character of the host building by removing clutter such as the awning and the spotlights and by re-establishing the entrance to the building on the corner of the shopfront which would have been the original location when the building was built in the mid-nineteenth century.

“The alterations to the shopfront are simple and sleek which in turn promote greater emphasis on the pilasters and the cornice which are the important features that contribute towards the building’s prominence. We consider that the proposal will have a positive effect and it will be a welcome refurbishment to the shopfront and the host building.”

A spokeswoman for the estate agents said that, due to the Christmas holidays, no one was available to comment and was unable to confirm any details, but an application has been logged in the firm's name.

Kentish Town Neighbourhood Forum treasurer Paul Seviour told the New Journal that Kentish Town already had 13 estate agents plying their trade.

He said: “We welcome the fact the building will be reinstated. But, however, we think it is unfortunate that an estate agent is taking the premises in Kentish Town, which already has 13 other estate agents and letting agents in the area.”

He cited the fact the neighbourhood already has long-established independent estate agents that have been working for years in the area, who could possibly be affected by the opening of a chain such as Foxtons. He said: “There are estate agents here who are small local indepedent businesses who have been in Kentish Town for a very long time.”

Foxtons started in 1981 in a shop in Notting Hill and now boast branches throughout the UK. Founder Jon Hunt sold the firm for a reputed £390m in 2007. They have been targeted by protesters who say the firm's arrival in an neighbourhood is a sign of rising house prices and gentrification. A bid to open in West Hampstead in September was met with furious objections, while a new branch in Brixton was targeted by vandals, who sprayed windows with slogans such as 'Yuppies Out' and 'Yuck'. A new branch in Stoke Newington also faced a popular protest movement by people in the neighbourhood, who claimed the estate agent represented the pricing out of families from inner London.

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