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Conservation Areas

There are 22 designated Conservation Areas within the London Borough of Enfield, several of which are located in or adjacent to Palmers Green - in particular, the Lakes Estate Conservation Area, located on both sides of Alderman's Hill

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For more conservation-related resources, see the groups and websites listed in the Conservation Groups category of our Community Directory

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Southgate District Civic Trust has sent Enfield Council a nomination to list the Fox pub in Palmers Green as an Asset of Community Value.  The application, sent last week, refers to the Fox's history, its role as a community hub, its prominent location and imposing architecture.

Fox Palmers Green geograph 3461584 by Christine MatthewsCopyright Christine Matthews and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons LicenceRegistration as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) provides increased protection against sudden changes of use or demolition of a building, though it certainly does not guarantee that neither of these will occur, as saving a pub might ultimately require its purchase by the community, as in the recent case of the Antwerp Arms in Tottenham.  In view of the size, both of the building and car park, the Fox would clearly be an expensive purchase.

It needs to be emphasized that there is absolutely no evidence that the owners of the Fox intend to close the pub, change its use or demolish it.  However, in common with many other pubs (possibly most pubs), it has lost much patronage in recent years so could be vulnerable.  Registration would be a precautionary measure.  It also indicates that local community bodies in and around Palmers Green place value in their history and their community hubs.

The small team that prepared the application comprised Sue Beard (the face behind Palmers Green - Jewel in the North), Jane Maggs (Secretary of the Southgate District Civic Trust), Joe Studman (Jaywalks), Councillor Mary McGuire and Sean Duff (President of the North London Circle of the Catenian Association).

The nomination summarises the Fox's importance as follows:

The Fox stands in a prominent position on the corner of Green Lanes and its namesake, Fox Lane. Tall and imposing, for those coming to Palmers Green from the north, it acts as a gateway into Palmers Green's main shopping area.

The Fox has a number of accolades. It is the oldest remaining pub in Palmers Green to have continuously stood on the same site – there has been a Fox on the site for over 300 years. It is also the only purpose built public house still remaining open on the main route between Wood Green and some way north of Winchmore Hill, the others being shop conversions with little architectural or historical merit.

The current building, of 1904, was built as part and parcel of the Edwardian development of Palmers Green. The size and grandeur of the building is a reminder that Palmers Green was once a place of enough significance to require a hotel and associated dining for travellers. Before the coming of the car, the Fox was the terminus of the horse drawn bus service into London, run by the Davey family of publicans who had stables at the back. Once the trams came, it was a major landmark on the journey from London. All taxi drivers still know the Fox.

The Fox, then, holds a position of huge cultural significance in an area which tends to think of itself as having a short past. It is a well loved landmark and social hub. If Palmers Green were ever to lose its landmark pub, and this landmark building, it would lose part of itself.

As a former bus and train terminus, and a hotel, the Fox has always been at the centre of Palmers Green's social and community life. June Brown, Dot Cotton from Eastenders, ran her theatre company from it, bands, including big names like Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band, have played in it, famous comedians perform in it to this day, and the famous have drunk in it – locals like Rob Stewart and Ted Ray and visitors including the famous names who trod the boards at the Intimate Theatre.

Today, as the only remaining live performance venue in Palmers Green, the Fox host a monthly comedy night attracting top Perrier nominated comedians. It hosts a community cinema, Talkies, desperately needed now that there are no cinemas for several miles. It hosts exercise and dance classes, and until recently bands and Irish music. As the only town centre room-for-hire, it has hosted wedding receptions, christenings, parties and bar mitzvahs, giving it a special place in many local people's personal histories.

The loss of the Fox, in its current form as a public house, would leave the community impoverished; the loss of the building itself would take something beloved and iconic for local people.

For this reason, we wish to make an application for the Fox to be recognised as an Asset of Community Value, so that, should it ever be threatened, it will be clear that this is a both building and social hub valued in the local area, and that local people might have some kind of option to intervene.

Southgate District Civic Trust is affiliated to the campaigning organisation Civic Voice.  In collaboration with several other campaigns, Civic Voice has set up the Localism Alliance, which has published a short guide to Assets of Community Value - the A-Z of ACV.

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