Update on The Half Moon, Herne Hill
As it’s been a while since we received planning, I thought it was time that I updated you all on what’s happening at The Half Moon in Herne Hill.
You might be wondering why we’ve not started work yet – so I thought it would be worth explaining where we are in the process. As The Half Moon is a Grade II* listed building, we had to apply for planning permission and listed buildings consent. We are now in the process of liaising with the planning authority to discharge conditions pertaining to this approval. This includes aspects such as how we are going to deal with any noise created by the venue, details of the joinery repairs we want to make and what bricks and roof tiles we want to use – in this case, we have to supply samples too, to make sure they fit with the listed building consent.
As you can imagine, this process takes a long time – and we are unlikely to be on site before August at the earliest. We are legally not allowed to start anything until we have successfully discharged all the conditions and the planning authority is 100% happy.
Once we do start, the build is going to take about four months. During that time, we also need to appoint a General Manager and start to hire a team to provide the exceptional level of service we offer in all our pubs. And, of course, we need to hire a Head Chef and a kitchen team.
As you may remember, we had hoped to be open in the autumn – but as the planning elements are taking so much longer than anticipated, realistically we won’t be open until early in 2017.
I know this is disappointing – for both the residents of Herne Hill and for us – but I hope you can understand that when you are dealing with a property that has as much history and heritage as The Half Moon, these things often take more time than expected.
I hope you will all bear with us – and I look forward to welcoming you all to The Half Moon in the new year.
Managing Director – Fuller’s Inns
In light of recent press coverage of the Half Moon, Fuller’s has laid out its plans for the pub and the style in which it will be run. We are very excited about the possibility of reopening The Half Moon, a pub that has been closed for over two and a half years, as the beating heart of Herne Hill.
We hope to be open, complete with a small number of hotel bedrooms, in the late summer, subject to gaining relevant planning and listed building consents. Our plans include the full restoration of the pub’s beautiful Grade II* listed internal and external features and, in conjunction with The Dulwich Estate, we will be investing a substantial amount of time and money to achieve this, bringing this iconic public house back to its former glory.
There has been a lot of focus on live music – and we do understand that there are some in the local community who feel that the pub should bring back live music in dedicated surroundings. However, we do not believe that the pub is economically viable if it is operated in this fashion. In order to pay back the investment needed to get the pub open, and the day-to-day running costs, we need to increase the food trade at The Half Moon.
Today’s pub customers are drinking less than they used to – but demanding more of an experience and delicious, fresh food. To facilitate this, we need to invest in a new kitchen – and due to the historic nature of the building, that can only go in the former Billiard Room, latterly used for live bands. We will also be developing a fantastic beer garden and including a children’s play area for the many local families and the result will create around 35 new full- and part-time jobs.
At Fuller’s we empower our managers to react to the needs of the local community and to run the pub in the style they think is most fitting for the area. This includes showing flexibility in how the various spaces in and around the pub can be used – and for what purposes. The manager would be charged with working with and supporting local community groups and local events such as the Herne Hill Music Festival. We anticipate that the pub will play a large role in these events.
While we may not be able to please everybody, all of the time, we promise to work with local residents, the wider community and the organisers of local activities to ensure that the pub plays a role and is accessible, open and appealing to the broad church that is Herne Hill.