Pub news – Jan 2021

Southwark Borough makes new ACV listings: the COVID epidemic threatens our pubs, both as businesses and as individual properties, so this is good news.  In November, Southwark Council agreed to list a further three pubs as Assets of Community Value (ACVs). Although not as important as it once was, ACV listing still carries weight in the planning system and can, of course, be a step to community ownership.

The Bear in Camberwell New Road (SE5 0RP) was closed by owners, the Wellington Pub Company, in 2017 after they were granted planning permission to convert the upper floors into seven single bedroom flats.  The ground floor was to be retained as a pub and it was supposed to reopen in the middle of 2018; nothing however has happened.  Consequently, local community group, the SE5 Forum, nominated it for ACV listing.  The railway arches on Camberwell New Road are being redeveloped and landscaped and the Forum sees the reopening of the Bear as contributing to these improvements.  They are also campaigning to reopen Camberwell railway station which closed in 1916 but now stands on the Thameslink route.

The second pub is the Beehive in Carter Street (SE17 3EW).  It was nominated by the Walworth Society and spokesman Jeremy Leach told the Southwark News, “Its heritage, coupled with its hidden location in West Walworth, make it a very special pub for its history and atmosphere. It is unique in Walworth and very different to other pubs situated along the high street. People love it for these qualities; its friendly welcome and its almost rural location.”

                Finally, there is the Ship, a Fuller’s house in Borough Road (SE1 1DX).  Formerly a venue for CAMRA London regional meetings, the Ship has a distinctive tiled frontage and a wood panelled interior, plus a pleasant rear garden area.

Admiral Mann, Holloway: the last report that I had on this classic 19th century corner pub, formerly owned by McMullen’s, was in October 2018 when it failed to reach its reserve price at auction.  Planning permission had been obtained in June 2018 for conversion into three flats.  The application was originally refused by Camden Council but approved on appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.  These works have not been carried out and, in November, a further application was made to temporarily convert the building as follows: ‘Temporary change of use for the period of 3 years from Public house (Class A4) to Large House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) (Class Sui Generis) with associated alterations’.  The plan shows these alterations to be the creation of seven double bedrooms, two single rooms, five bathrooms and two kitchens.  The reference is 2020/4462/P should you wish to look further.  The pub was previously being marketed by specialist agents AG&G, although it is not currently on their website.

Antelope, Leyton: this is another case of works being carried out without permission.  The pub, which dates from 1879, closed in 2014 when it was purchased by Tvzi Ltd who converted it into 14 flats with a retail unit on the ground floor.  Waltham Forest Council served two enforcement notices, requiring that the property be restored to its previous condition.  Tvzi Ltd appealed to the Planning Inspectorate on both counts and the appeal was heard in November.  I have now heard that the appeals were dismissed and the order to reinstate remains in force.  However welcome this is, the long term future of the pub still remains to be decided.  The owners argue that the pub is too small to be viable and there are enough pubs in the area, although over 1,500 local residents signed a petition calling for the pub to be reopened.

Carlton Tavern, Kilburn: several messages from the ‘Rebuild the Carlton Tavern’ group have appeared on Facebook recently saying that negotiations were in progress with the owners, potential operators had been identified and the pub would be opening ‘early in the New Year’.  I suspect that the COVID regulations may delay that but it is promising news all the same.  The group are looking to renew the pub’s Asset of Community Value listing.  It is understood that the developers, CTLX, still want to convert the upper floors to flats.  Fingers crossed.

Churchill Arms, Kensington: congratulations to the management of this famous Fuller’s pub who still put on a wonderful display of Christmas lights despite all that has been happening.  The lights were turned on at 5pm on Wednesday 2 December and screened via Facebook Live.

Hop & Rye, Bromley: sadly, a loss to report.  Having been sold by the pub company Stonegate to a company called Havenhill Ltd and closed in May 2019, the pub, formerly the Beech Tree, was demolished in November.  Unusually, planning permission to do this was granted in advance of any application for redevelopment being submitted and when it was, it was refused.  A second application was refused in December.  Apparently, the property had been squatted and vandalised so Bromley Council may simply have been glad to see the back of it.  There is a story that its original name comes from a fine specimen of a purple beech tree that once stood outside.  Sir Joseph Paxton, the architect of the Crystal Palace, was so impressed with it that he had it dug up and replanted in the grounds of his new project.

Larkshall, Chingford: the building was originally a 16th century farmhouse with Victorian additions, converted into a pub in 1982.  It is privately owned and was leased to Greene King.  GK have however decided not to renew their lease because they consider it to be no longer viable.  Its future as a pub is consequently uncertain although Waltham Council have a local requirement that pubs need to be marketed for two years before any application for redevelopment will be considered.

London & South Western, Clapham Junction: this is a new Wetherspoon’s outlet, converted with remarkable alacrity from a former Revolution Bars site (see page 26 for more details).  For you railway buffs, the locomotive (No. 415) on the facia is an L12 class (4-4-0), designed for express passenger work by Dugald Drummond and built at Nine Elms in 1904/05.  They were in service until 1955 and, of the 20 built, none survive.  The full address of the pub is 276/288, Lavender Hill, SW11 1LJ.

It is incidentally not the first pub in the area to be named after a railway company.  Until about seven years ago, in nearby Cabul Road, you could have found the London, Chatham & Dover Railway Tavern. The building is still intact although it is now a photographic studio.

White Hart, Mitcham: a planning application has been submitted to build at the back of this very handsome pub to create 18 flats which will also incorporate the rear half of the pub itself.  The pub dates from the 18th century and is Grade II-listed but Heritage England have delegated permission to Merton Council to decide the matter.  Looking at the plans, on first examination, the remaining portion of the pub looks too small to be viable.  The historic Cricket Green area of Mitcham has seen a number of pub losses, such as the Cricketers and the Queen’s Head, and the historic Burn Bullock is closed.  Another loss would be very damaging.

Yorkshire Grey, Holborn: this imposing Grade II-listed building on the corner of Gray’s Inn Road, once a brewpub, appears to be a victim of the COVID trading conditions.  The manager reported on Twitter that he had ‘handed back the keys’ to the pub company, Stonegate.  Stonegate have the pub on a long lease and so redevelopment is unlikely.  We wait to see what happens in due course.   

Iron Duke, Great Yarmouth: I am pleased to report that there has been a positive development in the story of this wonderful Art Deco pub.  The owners have relented and Great Yarmouth Borough Council has agreed a loan to the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust to enable them to purchase the Grade II-listed building.  The Trust will then use its own funds to make emergency repairs and conduct a feasibility study as to the future use of the building.  Some further external funding may be needed. }