North London residents who thought they had saved a traditional pub from being converted into flats have now found the doors shut to drinkers - and an estate agent inside using it as a branch.
The West End Extra news website says The Star in St John's Wood was last month awarded Asset of Community Value status by Westminster council following a campaign to stop it being converted to residential use.
However, estate agent Gray Champion is now using it for his company, Champion Estates, having signed a lease to operate it as an office.
It doesn't look like a modern estate agency because it's an old building. We are torn between how we can maintain the feeling of what it was and still make it an estate agency. The locals want to have a nice pub on the corner. But it was a business not a community service says Champion.
The plan now is for the pub to be renovated to work as a modern office while preserving the integrity of the original building.
St John's Wood has been the scene of anti-agency complaints in the recent past. The West End Extra news website quotes local resident Dave Taylor as saying: I've got the right hump about this. The area has had it as far as the locals are concerned. We've got a pub up the road but it's £4.80 for a pint. We've got elderly people using this pub, they can't afford to go in there.
He claims there are already 12 estate agents in the St John's Wood area.