Croydon Council is to investigate a planning breach at The Ship on South Norwood High Street, where estate agents have been letting out upper floor flats that have been developed without permission.
The pub closed last year, after 160 years of serving locals. A campaign group of residents and businesses was formed and lobbied the planning committee, won the support of Croydon’s London Assembly Member Steve O’Connell, and successfully applied to have the pub declared an Asset of Community Value, believed to be the first time this has been achieved in Croydon.
As an Asset of Community Value, a deal could be struck which will allow The Ship to become community-run, a model which has proved very successful elsewhere, such as with the award-winning The Hope pub in Carshalton.
But to take the process forward, the community group needs to access the property to make a valuation before making an offer to buy the pub from its current owners.
After meeting the owners to discuss the purchase, the campaigners have been locked out of the pub and were angry last week when they discovered that the owners have gone ahead with the conversion of the upper floors into seven flats, despite having been refused planning permission on two separate occasions by Croydon Council.
As the local planning authority, Croydon Council has a range of options available to it, including ordering the property owners to undo any unauthorised development and to pay for the property to be returned to its previous state.
Tenants have been moved into the properties, reportedly after paying three months’ rent in advance – which going by market rates for the area, could amount to around £3,000 for each of the seven flats. Lettings agent Moving Inn (geddit??!) told the Croydon Guardian – before they went on strike – that all the homes in the building have already been rented out.
“Both planning applications 15/00954/P and 14/04841/P were refused planning permission,” the council told the Guardian.
“We are aware of some unauthorised development having taken place alongside more recent allegations and the situation is currently being investigated by our planning enforcement team.”
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