Residents are rallying to save the Good Samaritan pub, regarded by many as an East End institution, from plans to stack flats on top of it.
The popular pub at 87 Turner Street was founded by doctors in 1937, and is the regular haunt of medical staff, students and patients.
But concerned drinkers have launched a petition to save the pub, after an planning application was made to build an extra three storeys on top of it.
The petition, launched by pub regular Chris Mills, has nearly 2000 supporters. It states: “The Good Samaritan has been an institution of the East End for nearly 100 years.
“Not only is the pub a place of sanctuary for patients and family members alike, it’s also ‘the local’ for the doctors, medical students and hospital staff.
“Being as close as we are to the Royal London Hospital we serve as a place of comfort and refuge for those who’ve just been dealt the worst news of their lives.
“As much as this is a common sight amongst the gentrification of the East End, it’s surely got to a point where a public house as valid and important as this must be saved.”
The planning application, made on behalf of the freeholder, Barts and The London Charity, proposes to ‘refurbish’ the pub and throw up a three-storey extension, with the upper storeys becoming flats.
David Starbuck, manager of the Good Samaritan, said: “We’re in ongoing discussions with the hospital to try and find out about the future of the pub. It’s all up in the air at the moment.
“We were founded by doctors in 1937 and are important to so many people. Our customers return after year after year for reunions. A lot of them have seen the plans for the pub and are so upset they’ve launched the petition to campaign for it to be saved.”
A spokesperson for Barts Charity said: “No decisions will be made in respect to the charity’s intentions for the property until after planning consent is granted.
“However, the charity recognises the importance to the community of the presence of the pub, which will be retained in a remodelled form as part of the new development scheme. In the short term the Good Samaritan will continue trading under the existing management.
“The charity has been the freeholder of this property for many years and is seeking to improve it in line with the principles of good management to renew the bar and kitchen facilities at the pub, and to extend it at the rear to create some additional residential accommodation.
“The plans show that the original building remains externally virtually identical but is extended in a similar style to the rear, minimising the impact on the streetscape.”