Guns & Smoke: too quick on the draw?

Written by  Monday, 01 September 2014 22:50
Guns and Smoke, promises to be a new venue at the heart of High Barnet’s conservation area Guns and Smoke, promises to be a new venue at the heart of High Barnet’s conservation area
Guns & Smoke, a new American-style bar and grill at the heart of the High Barnet conservation area, is announcing that it will be opening soon – possibly by mid-September – although planning permission has yet to be obtained from Barnet Council.

The new venue will be at 1 Church Passage, which is already at the centre of a long-running planning dispute over the use of timber cladding, some of which has since been removed after complaints that it made the building look like a Swiss chalet.

A hoarding outside Guns & Smoke says the new bar and grill, opposite Barnet parish church, will offer hot food and live music and will be “opening soon” – a claim that has taken Barnet’s planning department by surprise.    

At the end of August the Barnet Society was told that the council had received “some preliminary sketches” of the proposed bar and grill but the department believed a formal submission was “some way off”.

The council said it would be “very surprised” if the new premises could open by mid-September, even if it was possible to resolve the long-running dispute about the use of timber cladding.

Guns & Smoke’s website has no hesitation about its imminent opening: “We have arrived. Our flagship restaurant in North London’s Barnet, at 1 Church Passage, is the first of many Guns & Smoke bar and grills across the UK.”

It advertises its opening and closing times and promises live music every Friday night and children’s entertainment every Sunday. 

Events already arranged include a Halloween party on 31 October; a Christmas party on 15 December; and a New Year’s Eve dance party.

As planning approval usually takes about two months, Robin Bishop, chair of the Society’s planning and environment group, said he doubts whether Guns & Smoke could open prior to obtaining consent even if the premises had been fitted out as a bar and grill.

Although timber cladding had been removed from the top half of the frontage, the new windows were not regarded as being entirely satisfactory.

“The Society has been asked for its views by the planning department and while we will look at the whole frontage in context, there is still timber cladding at ground level and there needs to be something better at the top half of the building.”  

Mr Bishop believed Barnet Council was still at fault for not enforcing the decision of a planning inspector in April that the owner should be required to restore the frontage to its original surface of rough pebble dashing.

After half the unauthorised cladding was removed in May, the planning department promised that a heritage officer would carry out an inspection in an attempt to resolve the disagreement over the frontage.

A planning application has been submitted to demolish and rebuild After Office HoursA planning application has been submitted to demolish and rebuild After Office HoursThe changing fortunes of High Barnet’s licensed premises are reflected in the demise of the High Street bar After Office Hours, on the other side of the parish church.

An application has been made for planning permission to demolish and rebuild the property to include ten flats above new licensed premises.  

 

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11 comments

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 02 September 2014 19:42 posted by Sharmistha

    I think it would be a positive step forward for the high street if planning permission was granted and this unnecessary focus on the timber cladding was ended. Compared to the ugly frontages of many of the other shops in Barnet, "Central Park" " cash for gold", the cladding was an improvement. If the Society wants the High street to survive perhaps they should consider the bigger picture instead of putting obstacles in the way of progress before the entire high street becomes blocks of flats.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 23 September 2014 13:00 posted by William Barley

    The planning department would be clearly wrong to accept the current poor quality facade. As for Guns and Smoke, how down market can you get?! This will do nothing for the town. On the plus side, I would give it a year at most before it flops.

  • Comment Link Monday, 24 November 2014 01:06 posted by The mitre

    I find it very sad that some very small minded people have so many negative comments to make when a new business is trying to make a go of it! You only have to walk down Barnets high street and see all the charity/hairdressers/estate agents and pretty much nothing else! I wish them all the best after eating tonight!

  • Comment Link Monday, 24 November 2014 12:42 posted by gary

    I wish guns & smoke all the best in their new venture

  • Comment Link Sunday, 30 November 2014 19:12 posted by vicky@elephantshelf.com

    I wish Guns & Smoke every success - Barnet Council has done a lot to damage live entertainment in the area and at best they have been guilty of a total lack of encouragement and understanding of live entertainment. The final fate of After Office Hours is a sad example of how local authorities among others are choking of all of the joy and vibrancy of our nation.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 10 December 2014 13:42 posted by martin

    If only Barnet council and the various comittees spent as much time helping new business instead of hindering them....Martin

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 10 December 2014 15:59 posted by Angela

    What a welcome addition to Barnet High Street,bringing some life to a dead high street Angela

  • Comment Link Thursday, 12 March 2015 03:25 posted by jerome fletcher

    After office hours, Barnet high street, becomes a ghost town post 8pm.Guns n smoke is a welcome exception along with the long established Mitre P.H. and Mcdonalds.

    There is nothing appealing about multiple charity outlets and banking halls with an empty post office most days.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 15 March 2015 00:17 posted by Vanessa Fry

    I do so agree. But I have to say I would miss the Charity Shops which I do find appealing (although there are rather a lot of them I admit).

  • Comment Link Monday, 16 March 2015 15:46 posted by Linda osHEA

    Barnet High Street is a lot better now than a year or so, with the added bonos of a new fruit and veg shop that seems to be busy most days. Also a new restaurant Melange which I have not visited yet, but it looks very nice. I think that a couple of charity shops is okay, but when you get to 10 it brings the High Street down. We need more restaurants, not just Italian but maybe a good Fish Restaurant. Also a good fish and chip shop would be great.

  • Comment Link Monday, 30 March 2015 23:30 posted by Gail Laser

    Don't want to upset you Linda but I understand that charity shop number 11 is on its way into the ex Gems shop on the High Street. Sheer madness isn't it !!!

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