The Black Horse pub and Grand Union Canal, pre-1920
The Black Horse pub and Grand Union Canal, pre-1920

How Our Campaign Began

The Black Horse is a unique and successful pub in the heart of Greenford by the Grand Union Canal. The pub dates back as far as 1726, and it represents a popular and busy place for people from across the local community and further afield to come together.

However, rumours have been going around about what plans the pub’s owners, Fuller’s, may have for its future. I wrote to Fuller’s in June 2021 to raise my concerns, and I was worried by their response. They did not rule out selling the pub, and they implied they might consider doing so.

I therefore decided to show Fuller’s how strong the support of the community is for the Black Horse by setting up a petition to protect the Black Horse. This petition received well over a thousand signatures in a week, and the majority were from our local community in Ealing North.

Left to right: James, Sarita, Brian, Aysha, Mel, and Sindy
Left to right: James, Sarita, Brian, Aysha, Mel, and Sindy

Launching the ‘Protect the Black Horse’ Group

Lots of local people who signed the petition wanted to get more involved with protecting the Black Horse. I called a public meeting in March 2022 to formally create a new ‘Protect the Black Horse’ group.

I was very glad that over 80 people came to this public meeting to agree the constitution, hold our first annual general meeting, and appoint our management committee. This public meeting established ‘Protect the Black Horse’ as a constituted, non-for-profit community group set up to support efforts to protect the Black Horse pub.

The first task for me and other members of the management committee was to prepare an application to Ealing Council to try and get the Black Horse listed as an ‘asset of community value’.

Protect the Black Horse Group meeting, March 2022
Protect the Black Horse Group meeting, March 2022

Asset of Community Value Application

I began working with other members of the new ‘Protect the Black Horse’ committee to write an asset of community value application to be submitted to Ealing Council. Being an asset of community value gives pubs protection against simply being sold off and turned into flats.

We took advice from CAMRA – the Campaign for Real Ale – about how to make the application as strong as possible. We submitted the application to the Council, and they went through the process of formally assessing it.

I was very glad that, in August 2022, the Council confirmed the application had been approved. This was very good news as it meant the Black Horse would now be added to the Council’s list of assets of community values for the next five years.

Being an asset of community value does not provide absolute protection for pubs. But it does mean that if Fuller’s tried to sell the Black Horse, we can block them for six months. This would give us time to try to put together a community bid to buy the pub instead.

Being an asset of community value also helps to keep the Black Horse as a pub whoever owns it. This is because being listed as an asset of community value would make it harder for anyone to get planning permission to change it from a pub into flats.

You can learn more about what an Asset of Community Value is by going to the Ealing Council or Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) websites.

I want to thank other members of the ‘Protect the Black Horse’ committee for their help putting the application together. I also want to thank so many members of the local community for your support of our ongoing campaign to protect the Black Horse for the future.

We will keep looking at other ways of strengthening the protection of the Black Horse. You can keep checking this page, or click here to register for updates on our campaign.

If you want to get in touch with me about anything else, you can use the contact page on this website to send me a message.

James Murray, MP for Ealing North
James Murray, MP for Ealing North

Resources

I have included links below to the relevant resources for this campaign, including a copy of our application to Ealing Council and a copy of the constitution for ‘Protect the Black Horse’.

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