Friday, May 10, 2013

Harp of Erin – next betting shop?

The Harp of Erin has seen better times. Full of history, it is now a pub that beer snobs Fancy A Pint and Beer in the Evening wistfully regard as one of the last pubs in Deptford High Street not worth going in (there is only one other, The Swan, whose Vietnamese owners don't have real ale on their agenda). The Deptford Dame, in her post Deptford pubs added to local listing shows "The Harp" appearing as one of many pubs the Council has identified to be added to a list of heritage assets to be protected.

It recently appeared on the market as a lease worth £24,000 pa with estate agents Cannon Kallar, but has been removed. It may be sold, under offer or temporarily withdrawn. A notice seen in a window of the pub suggests the game is on privately.

Since there would be no need to change the planning class of this premises to turn it into a BETTING SHOP, we think Lewisham Council and EVERYONE should keep a careful eye on this. Betfred is still waiting for an 'in' to the Deptford High St gambling enclave, and Paddy Power's recent takeover of McDonnell Racing is hardly making an impact (they can't be much pleased with looking like a likkle sweet shop opposite the church).

We'd like to point Lewisham towards the progress of Newham Council's present battle with Paddy Power. Newham refused Paddy Paddle'o'Shite a license on the grounds that the operator was making more money out of gaming machines than ordinary betting (which they are). But as usual, the £multi-billion gambling operator has appealed, so Newham is now facing a test case in the high court, the sort of case that Lewisham have hitherto avoided.

This article explains Newham's case well enough:
Crosswhatfields campaigned tirelessly against Betfred being the 8th bookies to enter Deptford High Street all through from Jan 2011 till June 2012, but the only thing that saved us was someone clever (but rather slow-acting) in Lewisham Council who came up with an old planning clause about the use of the premises. Let's hope The Harp is now equally protected.

Please read this timely article in The Independent by Mathew Norman which neatly sums up all we have fought over and written about over the last two years...(search 'Betfred' on this blog).

Also see the Deptford Betting Map (please email any inaccuracies).


  1. According to South East London Camra, the proposed sale of the pub was raised at their last branch meeting, so they are aware of it. An online petition has been suggested as a good place to start in terms of raising awareness and gauging support for retaining the building as a public house.