Fresh concerns have been raised over the condition of a Grade 2-listed former pub in Edgware that Barnet Council recently pledged to save.
The Railway Hotel, in Station Road, has suffered repeated vandalism and been damaged by fires after closing its doors in 2006 – and there are now fears that damage to a lightning conductor strip could risk a further blaze.
Historic England describes the former pub as “among the best examples of a picturesque, historicist road-house in the country” and recognises that it is at risk of being lost.
Earlier this year, Barnet Council agreed in principle to buy the landmark building and preserve it as part of the town centre’s redevelopment. But Mark Amies, a local author who has been campaigning to save The Railway Hotel, believes the council is not doing enough to protect it.
Mark told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that a conductor strip designed to carry a lightning strike to the ground and prevent it from causing a fire had been severed and was touching a wooden panel used to board up one of the windows.
He said: “Should lightning hit the building, that would effectively go to the wood, and if strong enough perhaps start a fire.”
Mark also raised concerns over the state of a wooden fence surrounding the property that had missing panels. He said this had allowed people to access the back of the building, and an “awful lot of detritus from street drinkers” had built up next to a “path used by primary school children”.
The former pub is owned by a company called Milegate Limited, but Barnet Council is able to carry out enforcement action to protect the building.
However, Mark said that although he had brought the issues to the attention of the council and Historic England during the past two-to-three weeks, they had still not been dealt with.
He said that the lack of action “reflects badly on the council”, particularly because the Labour administration had shown an apparent interest in heritage and recently launched a bid for Barnet to become London’s 2027 ‘Borough of Culture’.
A Barnet Council spokesperson said: “We share the concerns of local residents. Whilst the fencing has now been secured, enforcement action is being pursued to ensure that this is improved and maintained. The owner has been contacted and has been asked to make all necessary repairs as soon as possible.”
A Historic England spokesperson said: “The Railway Hotel is a Grade 2-listed building which dates from 1931 and has been on our Heritage at Risk Register since 2013. It is no longer in use as a pub and was damaged by fires in 2016 and 2018.
“We continue to support Barnet Council’s officers who are actively involved in bringing the building back into good repair and use, so that it can be enjoyed by current and future generations. Historic England has limited enforcement powers, and in this case action is being led by the council.”
Milegate Limited has been approached for comment.