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Kings Arms, Amersham Old Town


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#1 G&T

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 03:02 PM

Hi,

Does anyone know when the Kings Arms in Amersham old town will re-open??? What's taking so long??? - I thought it was suppose to re-open last summer!!!

#2 Matthew (MPJ/Admin)

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Posted 24 April 2006 - 06:55 PM

It does seem to be taking longer than originally announced. I notice there have been quite a few additional planning applications submitted for further changes.

I think another hotel in Amersham is welcome, but the residents do not want the extra traffic. Henry W in the Community Voice column in the Examiner every now and then mentions this project, I know he reads this forum, perhaps he could update us either here or in his column.
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#3 Matthew (MPJ/Admin)

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 10:55 PM

There have been several planning applications about the Kings Arms lately. The applications relate to provision of car parking, complying with previous applications and lighting the sign. Whether this flurry of activity can be seen as evidence the project is close to completion, I don't know.
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#4 Harry The Hedgehog

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 06:20 PM

...and 24 hour drinking

#5 Denise

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 08:28 AM

There's a sign on the building saying it will open on the 5th of May....

#6 Matthew (Admin/MPJ)

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 11:03 AM

I have received the following message from someone who cannot access the forum at present. Hopefully the author will be able top post the message themselves shortly, meanwhile, they wrote -
----------------------------------------------------

The Kings Arms re-opened last Thursday. I popped in there the following day and I was gobsmacked speechless. My opinion is that Zola Hotels have RUINED IT. The first and most obvious thing they've done is ripped out the old flagstone floor and replaced it with wooden tiles. I'm still checking other details but generally they've got rid of real ale, added loud music and generally destroyed the old historic ambiance, in an obvious effort to attract young, binge drinkers, who made up all of the customers I saw there. As this is a listed pub I am going to start making enquiries about whether they can get away with this.
Cheers
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#7 Harry The Hedgehog

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 07:30 PM

I have received the following message from someone who cannot access the forum at present. Hopefully the author will be able top post the message themselves shortly, meanwhile, they wrote -
----------------------------------------------------

The Kings Arms re-opened last Thursday. I popped in there the following day and I was gobsmacked speechless. My opinion is that Zola Hotels have RUINED IT. The first and most obvious thing they've done is ripped out the old flagstone floor and replaced it with wooden tiles. I'm still checking other details but generally they've got rid of real ale, added loud music and generally destroyed the old historic ambiance, in an obvious effort to attract young, binge drinkers, who made up all of the customers I saw there. As this is a listed pub I am going to start making enquiries about whether they can get away with this.
Cheers


Please tell me this is not true

#8 CtVoice

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 06:10 AM

Please tell me this is not true


What that they've **** up the Kings Arms? I'm afraid it is - very badly. Go and have a look.

#9 Denise

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Posted 10 May 2006 - 12:32 PM

:angry: 'Fraid they have. We were amazed to see they had managed to make the old beams in there look plastic! The walls are painted an unpleasant dung/mustard shade and decked out with halogen lighting which is unsympathetic to this building.

The tables and chairs are spaciously arranged - i.e. not much seating room, and these together with the fabrics they've used appear cheap and nasty. It looks bland as there is nothing on the walls.

The ladies loos have some red flecked sparkly tiles which look like an explosion in an abbatoir!

Would I spend £140 a night to stay here - no way! Seems others are of the same opinion judging by the car park.

Interestingly we overheard in there the development was a quick tart up job to get the business up and running and it would be sold off in 3/4 years time.

Hub said the beer was rubbish too!

#10 CtVoice

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 05:55 AM


This is Henry Wizgier, I write the Community Voice column for Amersham in the Bucks Examiner. I am absolutely angry and disgusted with the corporate vandalism which has been perpetrated on the Kings Arms by its new owner Zola Hotels. I am trying to mobilize everyone who cares about not just pubs but this country's history to say something. So far I have written about it in my column and sent a follow up letter to the Bucks Examiner (Edition of Thursday May 18). I have also written to The Amersham Society who are supposed to be the guardians of Old Amersham's heritage and history, Don Phillips Head of Chiltern District Council's Planning and The Campaign For Real Ale. Here is a copy of my letters to Amersham Society and Don Phillips.

Hi Don
here we go again - another Amersham pub destroyed. This one however is listed. I don't know if you've heard anything yet but Zola Hotels the new owners of The Kings Arms Old Amersham's most historic and famous pub, have totally ruined the wonderful rustic old interior. When it was closed, the company assured me they would not alter the interrior. This pub is listed, they surely cannot be allowed to get away with this. Here is a copy of a letter I have sent to Amersham Society.

To Amersham Society
Hi Geraldine
I am absolutely disgusted with what Zola Hotels have done to The Kings Arms. Amongst other acts of corporate vandalism they have ripped up the old flagstone floor and replaced it with wooden tiles, replaced the old furniture with some modern rubbish and generally destroyed its olde worlde atmosphere. This is obviously their intention judging by the vast range of lagers which has replaced ale and loud music to encourage binge drinkers. This pub was a historic Old Amersham building inside as well as out. What does Amersham Society intend to do about it? I have written about it in my column and sent a strong letter to the Bucks Examiner.
Henry Wizgier, Community Voice for Amersham, Bucks Examiner.


#11 KevinR

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 04:34 PM

I fully agree with the angry feeling. The King's Head was an asset to Amersham that encapsulated a lot of the unique feel and "specialness" of Amersham.

An open question, apart from complaining loudly what can be done to change it? Given that they've done the dirty deed, what channels are there for getting Zola Hotels to change it to something more in keeping with the history of the building and the ambiance of Amersham? Presumably they've had planning permission and it IS their hotel - apart from the fact that they might get less business (which presumably they disagree with, or they would not have done it) why should they spend more money to change it back?

#12 Kiff

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Posted 16 May 2006 - 05:11 PM

I'd assume the changes would break the law if it's listed, although I don;t know if it's a) listed, B.) listed to what level and c) how the law works if there is a failure to comply.

I understood though that if it breaks the listing laws the work has to be undone at the cost of the owner.

#13 PaulEden

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 09:29 AM


This is Henry Wizgier, I write the Community Voice column for Amersham in the Bucks Examiner.
~
~
vast range of lagers which has replaced ale and loud music to encourage binge drinkers.

Gross generalisation.

#14 G&T

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 03:52 PM

I can not agree more with everyone's comments.... my fiancé and I popped into the Kings Arms on Sunday, and left soon after feeling very disappointed indeed... we were so shocked by what we saw, we didn't even stop to have a drink, but headed back to our favourite haunt, the Crown..

Absolutely criminal...

#15 Milton

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 10:58 AM

I agree as well. The interior of the bar doesn't seem to me to be in keeping with the exterior.

What an individual wants from a pub isn't necessarily the key issue & companies are perfectly entitled to try to make as much money as they can from their premises, but the planning authorities must have some responsibility for preserving the architectural and cultural heritage of a building like the KA. To my mind the internal changes in the bar (the only bit I've been into) do not do this. However, I have no expertise on the planning rules, and they may not have done anything illegal. Does anyone know?

I opted not to stay for a drink!

#16 jarrod

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 11:36 PM

Saw this topic and just couldn't help but register and post too.

I visited The Kings Arms with my wife on Saturday night for the first time since it reopened. We were absolutely appalled by the changes which make the place look like a hotel reception/bar and have completely ruined the character of the place.

Needless to say, we voted with our feet after finishing our drinks in quick time and went across the road to the Elephant & Castle.

We used to drink in there quiet regularly aswell as the odd meal in their restaurant, which is apparently now just being used as a breakfast room, but we won't be going back.

Probably stick to The Saracens Head and Elephant & Castle from now on.

#17 jad

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 09:44 AM

Absolutely baffling how someone can get away with the tasteless plunder of a legendary pub and restaurant.

Zola Hotels will argue that they will be making more money out of the hotel side of the business and then get a good price for selling it all on for a profit - so "two fingers up to the lot of you".

Shame on you Mr Zola Hotel (and we know who you are...trust me)

Bring back the popular atmosphere, forget the dated lagers, improve your wine offering (It's rubbish), and you'll then bring back the high-spending affluent customers you're missing out on.

#18 Matthew (Admin/MPJ)

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 12:38 PM

I have not been to the Kings Arms since it re opened and by the reports above, I am not sure I want to go.

However, a couple of points to consider.

The Kings Arms had planning permission to create a hotel, thus we should not be surprised if the bar area is not like a pub, hotel bars tend to be different to serve a different purpose.

If when converting to a hotel, I wonder if different building regulations or health and safety issues had to be followed which may have forced the alteration of the floor etc. Having said that, if changes had to be made then they should have been done sympathetically.
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#19 jad

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 07:48 AM

Yes - point taken about a Hotel bar being different - but even a Hotel bar surely doesn't want to attract the wrong people into the bar. (Last night two of the 6 customers were guys who have previously been barred from other local pubs)....It's such a depressing place now... :(

#20 Denise

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 06:28 PM

According to the Hub, the Building is grade 2 listed, which means it is probable that the interior was not protected, only the outside, unless specifically scheduled by English Heritage. If they attained a consent for the works it is probable that this was not an issue for them and it would have just passed through the planning system. It was also probable that the planning authority could do little about it as they have to abide by Government Guidance. Hub used to blame two sh*gs about this, but we now have to pick on Ruth Kelly as she is now supposed be looking after community issues!!

Unfortuately its all a bit late, they have done what they have done, the only protest you can make is by voting with your feet.

#21 David P

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 10:30 PM

According to the Hub,

The Hub???

I wonder if everyone got this upset when they put all the fake timber on the building - back in the 20s I think, but Matthew will correct me if I'm wrong. Is the building actually worth its listing without that timber?
David P

#22 Matthew (Admin/MPJ)

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 01:00 PM

The text I have currently stayes -

"Although the building can be traced back to the 1400s, it was extensively renovated in the 1930s when the whole of the font was given the white and timber look. The pub has been extended to incorporate some cottages. In the lounge is an unglazed mediaeval window and a massive Tudor staircase leads to the open timbered Elizabethan hall."

Can anyone tell me if the stair case and window are still in place?
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#23 Gary

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Posted 06 June 2006 - 09:38 PM

Hi folks,

news got to me last week that the KA was open again, a bit slow reaching sunny Chesham! I was a little sad to read of everyones disgust and dissapoinment. I was head chef for 16 years and enjoyed every day! Though I am now teaching my memories of the place are great, and yes it is a real shame that it has been tastlessly modernised, I will have to go and see for myself. My biggest dissapointment though was the fact that the restaurant is just a breakfast bar. Thank you to the kind person who described the restaurant as legendary!

Gary

#24 Matthew (MPJ/Admin)

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 10:48 AM

For anyone interested and who have not seen the refit, there is a web site

www.zolahotels.com/kings.html

The site has annoying music! (there is a little graphic at the bottom to turn the music off!)
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#25 Kathie

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Posted 28 November 2006 - 10:08 PM

I have received the following message from someone who cannot access the forum at present. Hopefully the author will be able top post the message themselves shortly, meanwhile, they wrote -
----------------------------------------------------

The Kings Arms re-opened last Thursday. I popped in there the following day and I was gobsmacked speechless. My opinion is that Zola Hotels have RUINED IT. The first and most obvious thing they've done is ripped out the old flagstone floor and replaced it with wooden tiles. I'm still checking other details but generally they've got rid of real ale, added loud music and generally destroyed the old historic ambiance, in an obvious effort to attract young, binge drinkers, who made up all of the customers I saw there. As this is a listed pub I am going to start making enquiries about whether they can get away with this.
Cheers



#26 Kathie

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Posted 28 November 2006 - 10:21 PM

I don't know which pub you used to drink in, maybe you should take more water with it. The King's Arms did not have a flagstone floor, it had wood block floors in the bar area and carpet in the restaurant. I know - I used to have to scrub the b************* things!! It used to take most of Monday morning to get the shine back on those floors, and Phyllis with her polisher machine grumbling all the time about the damage beer did to the floors. On her days off the bar staff had to do it.
The renovations may not be sympathetic, I agree, but don't let nostalgia cloud your comments.
The bar is very hotel-style, but then it is now a hotel. Would you prefer it to go back to a merchant's house or to the awful brick front it had in the 30's just because that's how it 'used to be'?
Our most recent memories of it are still not 'the real thing', just another renovation style.
I think the bedrooms look amazing and it has given a new lease of life to what was becoming a bit of a cliche.
I agree with Gary though - shame about the restaurant, used to be good honest food, we enjoyed his cooking, I remember hours spent in that kitchen 14-20 years ago.

#27 Matthew (MPJ/Admin)

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Posted 02 June 2007 - 08:03 PM

I have recently read an article which says the Kings Arms has been altered to take account of local opinion and changes made internally.

Has anyone been lately, any new comments?

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#28 nemetar

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Posted 04 September 2007 - 01:51 PM

I have recently read an article which says the Kings Arms has been altered to take account of local opinion and changes made internally.

Has anyone been lately, any new comments?



Hiya i put a post in the news and views section asking the same thing but it got locked out and moved to this discussion'to avoid confusion'.A lot of the comments here are quite old and i wondered if anyone had been into The kings Arms recently and what they thought. A friend of mine said they do a blinding quiz on monday nights and i should pop down and check it out .Any opinions?

#29 Cadno Bach

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:21 PM

I was a great fan of KA before it shut and was horrified at what was done to it---didn't go in for years. BUT a lot has changed since the last posts.The bar now opens normal pub hours and has a terrific range of real ales, plus ciders, and good food. It's very professionally run too. The interior has mellowed. The parking at the rear is a big bonus.