Charlton pub shouldn’t become a Tesco store, council agrees

By Joe Coghlan, Local Democracy Reporter

Greenwich council has responded favourably to a petition signed by more than 1,200 residents asking for plans to convert a 19th century pub into a Tesco to be halted.

The petition, signed by 1,267 people, asks for the council to restore the disused White Swan in The Village, Charlton into a working pub with function rooms.

Council documents said residents were “appalled” at the disrepair that the building had fallen into. Labour councillor Jo van den Broek, representing the Charlton Village and Riverside ward, presented the petition at a council meeting in December last year.

The councillor said at the meeting: “Specifically, we’re asking planning enforcement to take action to ensure that the owners of the White Swan restore the property’s first-floor function rooms, which were destroyed by their workmen without planning permission.”

The council received an application last year from developers Mendoza to change the pub into a set of seven flats with space for a shop on its ground floor.

Planning documents from Jenkins Law, on behalf of the applicant, said that Tesco viewed the pub in December 2022 and sent a proposal for the space shortly afterwards.

The plans said: “We consider that it is unrealistic for the property to continue as a drinking establishment evidenced by the previous tenants’ failure to operate viably despite apparent community support.”

The council said in its response to the petition that they would refuse planning permission for the scheme due to there being insufficient evidence to support the loss of the pub.

It added that there was not enough information submitted to show the site had been reasonably and actively put on the market for two years. The applicant claimed that the pub had been for sale since shortly after it closed in March 2020 but no leaseholder could be found.

The authority said: “the unsympathetic design and scale of the proposed two-storey roof extension,” rendered the proposal unacceptable.

The council also said it was aware of internal works that had been carried out in the pub but claimed that such works did not require planning permission as the building was not statutory listed.

The authority also noted that the inside of the pub may have been damaged from squatting and the space being used as a cannabis farm, but that nothing could currently be done and the situation would continue to be reviewed.

Council documents said the pub building was reconstructed in 1889 to be used as a hotel, with the attic of the site also being damaged from bombing during the Second World War.

Tesco and Jenkins Law were approached for comment, but had not responded at the time of publication.

Pictured top: The White Swan, in The Village in Charlton (Picture: Google Street View)

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