The public house on George Street which has pictures on its wall depicting Croydon “Corruption” and “Regeneration” has been subject to a multi-million-pound property deal, potentially to take advantage of an uplift in real estate values because of the council’s Compulsory Purchase Order around the Whitgift Centre.
The Morning Advertiser is reporting that The George has been bought for £4million by JD Wetherspoon. This in the midst of a scheme, announced last year, for the chain to dispose of 33 of its pubs, many of them in the south of England. The group still owns more than 1,000 pubs around the country.
The real ale pub chain has rented the Croydon town centre site, close to the George Street tram stop and tucked next to the former Allders store, since February 1993. “Clearly, they intend to stick around for a few more years yet,” said a spokesman.
The company refused to disclose who the previous freeholders were, though it is suggested that it could have been the Whitgift Foundation, the largest landowner in the borough and the owners of the freehold of the Whitgift Centre next door to the pub.
The pub site is just outside the Whitgift Centre CPO area, but it is reasonable to assume that the property value could increase when – or if – the £1.4billion Westfield and Hammerson development ever gets underway.
Wetherspoons pubs often like to celebrate the building’s and area’s history with informative wall decorations. The George is no exception, and it has a picture on its walls of Jabez Balfour, who perhaps ought to be an object lesson to the present day occupiers of the Town Hall just up the road. Balfour, the first Mayor of Croydon, got involved in a greedy building society loans deal which went bust, seeing him go on the run halfway around the world before being dragged back in chains from South America to do time, serving 14 years hard labour.
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