A community campaign in East Barnet to redevelop the former Jester pub has been given a boost after the owner submitted plans to Barnet Council for a nursery on the site.

The former Jester pub, opposite Mount Pleasant roundabout in East Barnet, has been shut since 2013. It burned down in 2018 but has remained a charred shell in the middle of the Bevan Estate.

Cllr Simon Radford, alongside local resident Ros Howarth, started a ‘Justice for the Jester’ campaign to force action on the site which had been stalled for a long time. The group has attracted hundreds of followers on Facebook from the Bevan Estate, keen for more attention to the issue.

Local residents have been worried about the lack of progress on developing the site but have also been concerned about the site attracting squatters and antisocial behaviour in recent years.

Cllr Radford and Ms Howarth even took their community campaign to the BBC, highlighting on TV news the plight of the Jester in light of media coverage of the Crooked House, a similar case in Dudley last year where a pub burned down.

East Barnet councillor Simon Radford said that action has been needed on the Jester for some time.

“When I was elected in 2022, one issue that residents raised with me time and again was action on the Jester.

“They wanted to know why almost a decade after shutting and almost 5 years since the fire, the site was stuck in an ugly limbo and no one was giving it proper attention.

“We’ve managed to get the council’s regeneration and planning teams involved, I got in contact with the site owner, and after a lot of back and forth, I’m delighted that the developer is now submitting plans for a new use for this site.”

Potential uses include a children’s nursery with some additional housing.

East Barnet resident Ismael Pope said: “Many who live round here deeply worry that the structure is dangerous and needs to be demolished. A new community facility with a nursery and a cafeteria would be just the ticket.”

Fellow resident Paul Levine said: ““I’m really looking forward to these new facilities being in East Barnet. It has felt we have been stuck with the burnt-out Jester forever. It seems now that the new Council has put new energy into solving this, which is great to see.”

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