The Kiwi licencees of a Battesea pub believe they are being booted out by the owners in revenge for launching a campaign to save the pub from demolition.

Landlords Cate Toomey and Aaron Tumata, who have been running the Castle, a former Young's pub, on Battersea High Street for almost four years, have been told by Languard Investments that they must vacate the premises by May 22.

In January, the pub’s owner submitted a planning application to the council to demolish the Castle to make way for an "anonymous" five-story block of flats.

This sparked a hugely popular Defend the Castle campaign, supported by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) which has so far generated more than 700 objections.

Ms Toomey said she believes the move by Languard to evict them came as a direct result of their campaign. It means the New Zealanders will lose their business, home and jobs in two months along with 10 staff also losing their livelihoods at the same time.

She said: "I believe the success of the campaign with a huge number of passionate and well written objections had come as a shock to Languard and therefore they decided to end our lease early.

"I firmly believe that they didn’t know they what they were buying when they purchased the pub from Young’s and they had no idea that this was a popular pub that people would fight hard to save.

"It is just so sad that a Battersea-based company like Languard is seeking to erode the sense of community in the area and instead would like to turn it into a dormitory suburb with residents having to leave the area to socialise, eat and drink."

When Young's wanted to sell the pub it told Ms Toomey that she would have to find £1m in 10 days if she wanted to buy the pub.

Recently the Wandsworth Conservation Areas Advisory Committee met and agreed to advise Wandsworth planners to refuse the application in its current form because the pub is in a conservation area.

Dale Ingram, heritage consultant and Pubs Preservation Officer for SW London CAMRA, said: "There has been a public house on this site for as long as 300 years and it would be a travesty if that heritage were not respected.

"In London alone, nearly 500 pubs a year are lost, most to unsympathetic new uses such as housing and 170 on average are demolished, never to be replaced."

The pub counts Andrew Lloyd-Webber, Irish band The Script and entrepreneur PY Gerbeau who was responsible for the running the Dome during the Millenium among its regulars.

While Battersea MP Jane Ellison, local councillors John Hallmark and Tessa Strickland and London Assembly member for Merton and Wandsworth Richard Tracey are also customers and have given their full backing to saving the historic pub.

At present the pub's last day of trading will be approximately a week before the eviction date.

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