The George Tavern

Media contact:
For more information please contact James on 07850 374 815 or email  
Alternatively contact landlady Pauline on 020 7790 7335 or at 

Notes to editors:
1. The case will be heard by October 2016.

2. A range of pictures, as well as the history of the campaign, are available on the dedicated mini-site:   

3. Music Heritage UK is a charity which exists to promote, protect and preserve the nation’s popular music heritage, please visit  for more information.

4. See for up-to-date listings of what's on at the George Tavern.

Campaign site: 

Nine year battle reaches crescendo as Court of Appeal grants music venue lifeline in fight against developers

23 February 2016

The George Tavern in East London has been given a lifeline to make its case at the Court of Appeal as it was granted the right to appeal against plans to build flats next to the established music venue and pub. The luxury flats pose a significant threat to the future of the George, a pub famous for its live music.

Important grassroots music venues are under threat all over the country. In London 35% of the grassroots venues have closed over the last eight years, many as a result of inappropriate development on their doorstep.

The George’s case is a test case for music venues, pubs and other established businesses facing similar situations across the country. The Court of Appeal will consider whether planning authorities should allow new development, if it threatens established licensed premises. In particular, the Court will consider whether complaints from residents of any new development will put the operating licences of live music venues at risk.

A 600 year old, Grade II listed building located at 373 Commercial Road, Stepney, East London, the George Tavern has hosted the likes of Nick Cave, Plan B, John Cooper Clarke, The Magic Numbers, Kodaline and even Sir Roger Penrose on its intimate stage.

A nine year campaign against the building of these flats by property developers has been backed by a number of celebrities and artists including Kaiser Chiefs singer and The Voice judge Ricky Wilson, Olympian diver Tom Daley, models Kate Moss and Georgia Jagger, and actor Sir Ian McKellen. Over 3,000 signed a petition urging the Planning Inspectorate to uphold Tower Hamlet’s decision and refuse planning permission for the six residential units.

The George Tavern were represented by Annabel Graham Paul of Francis Taylor Building and Harry Campbell of Richard Buxton Environmental and Public Law.

Barrister Annabel Graham Paul said, “At the moment the law is failing licensed operators. Too many good music venues are facing closure because of inappropriate development. Local Authorities are confused about the relationship between planning and licensing decisions, and I’m pleased that the Court of Appeal has recognised it needs to examine this”.

Landlady Pauline Forster said, “We’re ecstatic that we’ve been given another chance to make our case to the Court of Appeal. As well as fighting for our own future, we’re fighting for the future of live music in London and across the country. We desperately need a common sense approach to planning and music venues and hope that a successful outcome for us can lead the way for other pubs and venues who are having to deal with inappropriate property development.”

James Ketchell, Chief Executive of Music Heritage UK who have been supporting the campaign said, “We’re delighted that Pauline and the George Tavern have been given another chance. We only hope that common sense will ultimately prevail and that this unique and historic venue can be allowed to continue to provide a stage for new music.”

The George Tavern has launched a new petition so music fans can voice their support for the music venue to the Court of Appeal. The petition can be viewed at:

They are also fundraising to help meet their mounting legal costs, please visit

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