Celebrate our campaign success!


To celebrate their recent victories in court, and to thank you for your incredible support over the years, The George Tavern are throwing the party to end all parties with a whole night of live music and DJs on Friday 25th August from 5pm to 3am.

More details in the event page on Facebook:

See you down the front!


Planning Inspectorate victory for the George


A message from the George Tavern…

Last night we received news that a momentous decision had been reached by the Planning Inspectorate. We are delighted to announce that the appeal against refusal to grant planning permission, listed building consent and conservation area consent has been dismissed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government! This means that the proposal to build houses right next to the George Tavern has been refused planning permission.

This is not only a fantastic outcome for The George Tavern, but a signal for all music venues across the UK, who fear that they can be bullied and bought by developers, that the planning system will protect live music venues from inappropriate housing development. We hope that this decision will be a huge support for all future battles against those who would strive to see venues steeped in historical and cultural significance pushed out to support unseemly profiteering. 

We would like to say a huge thank you to all those who supported us in this difficult time by donating, buying t-shirts, playing their wonderful music in our venue and even those who simply shared our social media posts.

Whilst the battle is won, the war may not be over. Swan Housing Group still has the option to go back to the High Court and attempt to overturn the refusal of planning permission . We sincerely hope this does not happen but just in case it does, we will continue to #SAVETHEGEORGETAVERN!

Harry Campbell of Harrison Grant Solicitors said, “It is a cornerstone of the planning system that you should not place incompatible development, such as a live music venue and housing, next to each other. 

This has been a long fight, but we are delighted that the Secretary of State has acknowledged that it is not appropriate to prejudice the survival of the George Tavern, a culturally important live music venue, by placing housing on its doorstep which would almost certainly have led to complaints and restrictions on the George Tavern’s license. This decision will hopefully send a message to developers that they cannot continue to threaten the ongoing existence of live music venues which are the heartbeat of London with inappropriately located development.”

James Ketchell, Chief Executive of Music Heritage UK said, “Common sense has prevailed. This is a musical ‘oasis’ in a cultural desert—it should be protected to provide east London with an eclectic and diverse musical offering.”

Beverly Whitrick of Music Venue Trust said “Music Venue Trust is happy and relieved that this threat to The George Tavern has receded. The George is a grassroots music venue, vital to the development of new music in London and a cultural and community asset. This decision will help other venues by demonstrating that assembling a strong case with evidence about the potential impact of living next to a music venue can determine whether a development is reasonable or not. In this case the development would have endangered the venue and would not have provided accommodation that was good enough. Developers need to work harder to find the right solutions. Congratulations to Pauline and her team, and all who offered support and advice.”

Swan return with new appeal to Planning Inspectorate


The landlady of the George Tavern, Pauline Forster, has received notice on an appeal by Swan Housing for their proposed development on the plot adjacent to the established pub and grassroots music venue.

As with their two previous applications to the authorities, the developers have once again chosen the busy Christmas/New Year period to lodge an appeal. We’re at a loss as to why Swan’s lawyers like this time of the year so much? (…answers on a postcard please!)

In July this year the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Pauline and quashed the decision of the Planning Inspectorate, stating that the Inspector had not taken into account the impact of the development on Pauline’s location and filming business. Crucial to raising funds for the restoration of the Grade II listed building.

This appeal by Swan takes the process back to the Planning Inspectorate and a new inspector will be appointed to hear the case. While we’re by no means planning experts, we’re unsure of the legal tactics being employed here – the issue around light is a fundamental one to the originally proposed development which has been ruled on by the Court of Appeal. The issue hasn’t gone away…

However, what we are clear on is the additional financial burden and the stress on Pauline and her family that this appeal brings.

While we’re not currently collecting signatures for this campaign, you can help by visiting the George’s online shop and buying exclusive merchandise, including Save the George shirts and badges. All profits go to their legal fund which will help them continue the fight against inappropriate development and keep music live at the George Tavern.

This case also comes on top of another application for a residential development on the site of the office block adjacent to the venue’s garden and outdoor space. The George is currently receiving assistance from Music Venue Trust in responding to that particular case.


New fight for the George!


Our last update shared the news that Pauline and her team had the decision overturned in the Court of Appeal. The Judges ruled that the development would hinder the light for Pauline’s photo and video shoot location business – profits of which went towards the upkeep and restoration of the historic Grade II listed building and subsidised live music events.

We’ve no more updates on that case…. However, the pub has been hit with a separate proposal by different developers which has been submitted to Tower Hamlets. They want to convert the currently disused office space to the side of the pub into residential units. (See more on the Council website here, search for PA/16/02806)

Pauline and the George Tavern have received assistance from legal experts at the Emergency Response Team with the Music Venue Trust. Their planning experts have advised Pauline on how best to formally respond to the planning application.

However, the plans are open to a public consultation, as such there is nothing stopping you sending letters to Tower Hamlets Council to let them know what you think!

Download a template letter in word. But as always with these things, the more personal the better, so please feel free to change!

You have until Monday November 21st to send your letter into the Council via post, or email (make sure you include the planning reference PA/16/02806 in the subject line).

You can also catch up with some more media coverage; Time Out did an amazing full page piece a couple of weeks back which also featuring some of the celebs who’ve backed the campaign.

On behalf of Pauline and the George Tavern, thank you for your continued support!

Great news as George wins at Court of Appeal!


The Court of Appeal have ruled in favour of East London music venue and pub, The George Tavern, by overturning a planning decision to allow new flats to be built in close proximity to the established venue.

The decision means that the George has won this round of legal battles, but further legal appeals may lie ahead.

The judgment turned on the fact that the luxury flats would have seriously jeopardised the unique location and photography business at the George since the only natural light source onto the first and second storey landings and historic staircase would have been eliminated. Profits from this business pay the mortgage, subsidise the live music venue and fund the ongoing restoration of the 600 year-old Grade II listed building based in Stepney, East London.

The court also had a lot to say about the way that developments like this threaten traditional live music venues in London due to the risk of noise complaints.

The Secretary of State has applied to the Judges to appeal the decision at the Supreme Court; whether they will be successful remains to be seen.

Barrister Annabel Graham Paul said, “This judgment shows the courts really are prepared to protect grassroots music venues in London and warns planners not to take a one size fits all approach. Pauline Forster has battled tirelessly to save The George Tavern and this is fantastic result for her and for grassroots music venues further afield too”.

Landlady Pauline Forster said, “I am relieved and happy that the Judges have recognised the importance of the historic George Tavern, a local pub, live music venue, film, fashion and art shoot location, and my home. I have battled tirelessly over nine nine years for something I truly love and believe in. And I will continue to do so. May the light shine through and live music live on!”

James Ketchell, Chief Executive of Music Heritage UK, who have been supporting the campaign said, “This is a huge victory for the entire live music community in London and for grassroots campaigning. It’s now time for the developers to do the right thing, realise they should cut their losses, and scrap these inappropriate plans.”

The campaign victory was covered by The Evening Standardi-D/ViceDazedTime OutLondonistEast London AdvertiserIQ magazineCMU and Music Week.

George informed of final court date… how you can help!

The George Tavern have been informed of their upcoming date at the Court of Appeal. The case will now be heard on Wednesday 8th June.

This is the crescendo of a nine year battle with developers who want to build luxury flats in close proximity to the established music venue.

The Judge is seeing this as a test case and will consider whether planning authorities should allow new development, if it threatens established licensed premises. In particular, the Court will consider whether complaints from residents of any new development will put the operating licences of live music venues at risk. This is not only about the George, but about live music more generally.

if you would like to show your support in person, then the George would love to see you at the Court (please keep an eye on our twitter for news of location and time).

If you’re not available but would like to show your then please do sign the petition (if you’ve not done so already) and share it widely with friends and family (using #savethegeorgetavern). The more who sign up, the more we can demonstrate just how important the George for the music community to the Court.

You can also buy some exclusive Save the George merchandise online, with all profits going to the legal fund.

Thank you for your continued support.

Petition update and Save the George on TV

We’re delighted to see that our petition has broken through the 1,300 barrier. Please do sign if you haven’t and please share, share, share!

Landlady Pauline and campaign supporters Music Heritage UK were filmed for a piece on London Live. You can watch by clicking the link below.


The campaign has also been covered by pub trade mag, the Morning Advertiser (here and here), Kerrang!Gigwise, and Time Out in the last few weeks.

Thanks for your continued support.

The George wins right to appeal … how you can help!

The George Tavern

Good news from the campaign!

The George Tavern has been given the right to appeal at the Court of Appeal in what is being seen as a test case for music venues, pubs and other established businesses facing similar situations across the country.

The Court of Appeal will consider whether planning authorities should allow new development, if it threatens established licensed premises. In particular, the Court will consider whether complaints from residents of any new development will put the operating licences of live music venues at risk.

Barrister Annabel Graham Paul who is representing the George said, “At the moment the law is failing licensed operators. Too many good music venues are facing closure because of inappropriate development. Local Authorities are confused about the relationship between planning and licensing decisions, and I’m pleased that the Court of Appeal has recognised it needs to examine this”.

The case will be heard by October… more news when we have it.

Before then, we’re aiming to collect names to show support for our case and for live music in the capital and throughout the country. Please take two minutes of your time and sign now (and spread the petition online via #savethegeorge !)

You can also support the campaign by visiting our online shop – buy a t-shirt, spread the word for our fight, and feel good knowing you’ve contributed to the George’s legal fund!



The George have had their appeal to the High Court turned down. Landlady Pauline is going to renew the application for permission to appeal to an oral hearing, meaning that she will be able to respond in person to this decision.

So… the lengthy legal process continues…

As does our fundraising appeal… Visit the George’s online shop to buy Save the George badges, plectrums, bags, and t-shirts! All previously modelled by celebrity supporters including most recently, Olympian diver Tom Daley. All profits from the sales go to our legal fund: https://thegeorgetavernshop.wordpress.com

In other news Pauline was interviewed for Gary Cowley’s BBC Radio London show talking about the George and her struggle to keep music live in East London. Listen online here, she’s on after 1:45: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03f9d7s

Of course the best way of supporting the George is to come along to a show! See what’s on over the next few weeks over at the website: http://www.thegeorgetavern.co.uk

Meet you down the front?!

The Save the George team