CAMPAIGNERS desperately trying to save a historic pub from being sold off say it will be like “ripping the heart out of the community”.

People who drink at The Goat, in Ponders End, Enfield, were horrified to learn it was for sale when a regular stumbled upon documents while at work at Haringey Council.

They are now trying to get it named an Asset of Community Value (ACV), but the hearing is scheduled for early September - and final offers to sell it were due by August 10.

John McGrath, who had his first drink in the pub on his 18th birthday in 1974, said: “We are extremely disappointed n the way this has been handled. We have no idea what’s going on.

Enfield Independent:

“It’s not just a pub. an informal social space People of all ages go there and losing that would leave us with nowhere left to go around here.

“I go there with people from my childhood and my kids. But I don’t just go there for a drink, I go there to meet people.

“It’s upsetting and would be like ripping the heart from the community.”

The Goat is the last pub in Ponders End as regulars claim nearby The Palace, which Whetherspoons sold last year, is more of a restaurant.

In recent years, the ward has lost Horse and Dray, White Hart, Falcon, Granville, Beef and Barrel, Railway Tavern, Alma & Boundary House.

Mr McGrath, 58, says the situation is all the more shocking because Ponders End is supposed to be a “regeneration area”.

He added: “I know a man who goes a few times a week, he’s recovering from cancer and he’s got no immediate family. Where do people like him go?

“The general idea of a regeneration area is to create mixed and balanced communities but I’m struggling to see how they can justify this.”

If the pub succeeds in becoming community asset, planning protection kicks in so it cannot be demolished or changed without extra permission.

The regulars have now launched a committee - Goat Action Group - to save the pub, but they fear all will be lost if the ACV is granted after contracts to sell the pub have been exchanged.

Ponders End is undergoing its largest ever regeneration, with Lovell developing the Electric Quarter featuring houses worth £500k and countryside developments.

The Alma Road development will see 933 new homes, retail space, a doctors surgery, a gym, a youth centre, a nursery and community centre.

Regular Paul Tubbs criticised the way the sale had been “rushed through” and people were not informed.

He described the historic pub, which has been open since the 1700s, as “beautiful”.

He added: “The concern is that It is unconceivable that we could be the first dry ward in north London the way things are progressing. “Enfield could hold the first mantel of having the first north London ward without a traditional pub.”

A spokesperson for owners Greene King said: “As a leading pub operator and brewer, we are committed to running high-quality community pubs.

“To be able to continue to invest in our estate, from time to time we have to make the difficult decision to sell a pub. After much consideration, we decided to put The Goat on the market a few months ago.

“The Goat was fully advertised at the time and is now under offer.

"As is standard commercial practice, all bids are kept private and confidential. In the meantime, the pub remains open for business and continues to serve customers.”