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Published: 5 June 2008
The Hawley Arms is undergoing renovation after a fire that gutted it in February
The Hawley Arms is undergoing renovation after a fire that gutted it in February
The Hawley’s rise from the ashes gets tangled in red tape

Glitzy celeb magnet is set for a comeback, but planning officials are spoiling the party

IN the spot where singer Amy Winehouse and a host of other familiar faces once pulled up stools to the bar and joked with regulars, there is the sad sight of scorched walls and scaffolding.
Devastating for the pub’s army of fans, this is the first picture of the inside of the Hawley Arms in Castlehaven Road, since the pub was devastated by the Camden Fire in February.
It reveals the size of the task facing licensee Ruth Mottram to get it up and running again.
Four months on from the blaze, she is angry that she is no closer to knowing when it will re-open after running into delays at the Town Hall’s planning department.
“I would have expected Camden to be more supportive to us and to [the people of] Camden,” she said of the attitude to a planning application for refurbishment work.
Despite only receiving letters of support for the Hawley’s proposals, Camden has queried some of the designs, leading to a hold-up.
Ms Mottram is puzzled because the plans are aimed at fitting in with new fire regulations rather than changing the look of the building.
“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel,” she said. “Our intention is to bring it back as it was, so that when people come back they’ll be like ‘wow it’s open again’ not ‘what’s happened to the Hawley’.”
Ms Mottram said Camden should be encouraging a business that many regard as a key player in the area’s renaissance.
She said: “We added to what was already happening.
“The music side was already regrowing, with Koko, Proud and the Roundhouse all opening around the same time. We were a part of that, we did get a lot of bands coming.”
While she admitted there was some backlash to its reputation as a glitzy celebrity magnet, she maintains its popularity – with celebs and locals alike – was rooted in its friendliness.
“The press helped put us on the map, but it got to that stage because of the work we put in,” Ms Mottram said.
“The pub got known for being a celebrity place but the celebrities came here because it was a good place.
“There was always going to be some backlash, but I don’t think you can be successful without that.
“I don’t resent it.”

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