Dagenham pub to reopen as function venue and restaurant

The Farmhouse Tavern in Dagenham.

The Farmhouse Tavern in Dagenham. - Credit: Archant

Barking and Dagenham Council has been forced to back-track over its own pub-saving scheme, allowing a Dagenham tavern to be turned into a licensed function venue and restaurant.

Farmhouse Tavern, Dagenham, boarded up.

Farmhouse Tavern, Dagenham, boarded up. - Credit: Archant

Councillors overturned recommendations to refuse the change at a development control board meeting last night, with the Farmhouse Tavern, in Dagenham Road, set to reopen in the next few months.

Although the building has stood empty since 2010, council officers planned to bar the move under the borough’s ‘Last Orders? Preserving Public Houses’ supplementary planning order.

Adopted in June 2014, the order only allows pubs to change use after a 12-month marketing period, if “no interest in the free or leasehold as a pub” is expressed in that time.

Catering for up to 200 guests at special events, such as weddings, caterer Gulzar Chowdhury – who bought the pub in 2011 – hopes to boost the local economy by creating 15 local jobs.

“I would like to thank the people of Eastbrook for supporting me over the last four years and the ward councillors for their support and guidance,” he told the Post afterwards.

“Ultimately I want to return the Farmhouse Tavern to its former glory and see it used by local people once more.”

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Only cabinet member for regeneration Cllr Cameron Geddes voted against the change, which was agreed with a series of conditions.

Eastbrook ward councillor Cllr Tony Ramsay said: “The worst thing that we can do is let the Farmhouse Tavern disintergrate in to the ground.

“It’s a fine building and we want to see it used, not as a cash and carry, but in a way the local community can access it.”

The change of use comes as the Bull pub, in Rainham Road South, prepares to reopen as a cash and carry selling groceries, vegetables, meat and drinks.

Despite opposition from some councillors and local residents, a planning application is not needed to change a building from a pub to a shop, meaning the council is powerless to intervene.

Speaking at last night’s meeting, Cllr Phil Waker said: “A cash and carry causes dangerous parking problems and we can’t do a bloody thing about it.”