Plans to rip green tiles off listed Brighton pub

Posted On 13 Sep 2021 at 5:57 pm

A pub company wants to rip historic green tiles from the outside of a locally listed Brighton pub.

Stonegate has applied for permission to remove the tiles from the Montreal Arms in Albion Hill, claiming it is vital to the pub’s economic future.

The pub’s lease is currently up for sale, and the listing says the external refurbishments are being done to increase passing trade.

But the plans have provoked an outcry from its neighbours, who want to preserve the pub’s history.

Spacewords Brighton

An artist’s impression of how the pub would look with render replacing more than half its tiles, and with an A board partially blocking the narrow pavement

One, Ken Frost, said: “As we were reminded during covid, pubs are vital community assets. Therefore I am very pleased that Stonegate intend to continue to run the Montreal as a pub, rather than turn it into flats or let it rot with a view to selling it for development. I am also pleased that they want food to be served there.

“Whilst it is clear that the Montreal needs extensive refurbishment inside and outside, it is essential that the character of this long serving local is maintained – the green tiles must stay!”

Another, Melanie, said: “It’s a shame to lose the history and look of some great buildings in the area.

“Surely they shouldn’t be allowed to do this? The Rosehill and Village are great examples of developing without ruining the history of the area.”

The listing, in Brighton and Hove City Council’s register of local heritage assets, says: “Fascia refers to the ‘United’ Brewery. This is a reference to the Portsmouth & Brighton United Breweries Ltd.

“This brewery was formed by the merger of the Portsmouth United brewery and Brighton’s Rock brewery in 1927. The green-tiled frontage is typical of that company’s design.”

The planning application quotes the listing, but says: “The proposals are to ensure that this pub can continue to function and improve trade.

“The pub has been run down and is dilapidated and requires considerable expenditure and repair.

“Without the proposals taking place it will be very difficult for the property (and business) to trade successfully.”

It also references two further planning applications, which are not yet on the council’s planning portal – but it’s likely one will propose building an extension to house a kitchen onto the pub’s rear.

In the advertisement for the pub’s lease, Stonegate says: “The external area is currently undergoing a refurbishment modernising the exterior with new signage and décor to maximise passing trade.

“This pub would be ideal for a new starter with determination and enthusiasm, who can market the pub correctly to appeal to the demographic within the area.

“The pub has previously been run as a community site with pub games and sport however the changing needs of the increasing number of younger professionals and families within the local area requires a food offering and a more eclectic drinks range.

“The new publican should look to explore adding a commercial kitchen onto the rear of the pub and introduce a wider drinks range to increase revenue.”

Before the pandemic, the Montreal Arms was run by Pendry’s Pubs, but has not reopened since closing in March last year.

In May this year, Stonegate put a notice in the window announcing it was gaining entry to make the pub safe, without ending the tenancy.

  1. mike letton Reply

    Those tiles link directly to the history of Albion hill. Don’t dump a visual gem for the sake of some superficial scheme, when real functional improvement is actually needed.

  2. Billy Short Reply

    It just so happens that I lived directly opposite that pub for thirty years.
    The distinctive brewery tiles are indeed part of a landmark look, but I would be surprised if this was a pub that will me missed by typical Hanover residents now.

    Its previous clientele came from outside the neighbourhood – or they certainly did ten years ago, when you could park outside.
    I suspect they only want to remove the tiles as part of a longer plan to turn it into flats.

    With so little outside space, and little room for a functioning restaurant kitchen, I can’t see this place ever becoming a busy pub nowadays. The pavements outside are way too narrow for extra outdoor seating and the neighbouring houses are just too close. There’s no room inside either for live performance.

    Of course back in the day there was a pub or shop on every corner of the narrow Hanover streets. The pubs at the bottom of Albion Hill are long gone, but there’s a really good one at the top end, on the corner of Queen’s Park Road (The Independent), and a few more trendy ones on Southover Street.

    I’m surprised if people are that bothered about keeping the Montreal Arms. It doesn’t quite have the legendary community pub history that other Hanover pubs have.
    But, yes, it would be sad to see those distinctive tiles go.

  3. Mark Reply

    A lot of the tiles are damaged and broken. If the pub can be reopened and kept as a community pub with darts, billiards and food it should. Some things are good with change. How many people who never set foot in the doors are going to have a moan. Many people that used the pub were indeed locals. It was the only pub in the area that didn’t cater for the trendy Hanovarians. A proper local for local people.

  4. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Yhese tiles are the very thing that make the pub welcoming.

  5. Leyton Jay Reply

    They can improve the decor without changing the historic design, and maybe start serving interesting beers people actually want to drink? Just a suggestion.

  6. David e Reply

    you can paint over tiles without removing them and that way their history can then be preserved for reinstatement later if need be, when inevitably trends change.
    But You say they’ve asked for permission, from whom? The facts you report lack the depth that would allow for people to take action if they wanted to. Petitions are possible if you know where and with whom to file them..

  7. Rj Reply

    How about they give the pub to locals to refurb until they can find a landlord that can take it over. If it is made safe, it could still open and operate, even under current covid situation.

  8. Rosie Reply

    I’ve just walked past the pub with most of the tiles ripped off and can confirm it looks absolutely sh1t.

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