Community group has six weeks to find at least £1m to buy a once-successful East Croydon boozer, as owners abandon plans to build flats
Three former pubs have been put up for sale, as firms of developers appear set to cut their losses and get out of the business of destroying old Croydon boozers.
It seems unlikely that any of the three pubs will be returned to their former glories, though in one case, The Glamorgan’s status as an Asset of Community Value means that there is a slim chance that it might be bought by East Croydon locals who want it to return to being their local.
The Sandrock, on Upper Shirley Road, has been closed since February 2018 when pub company Mitchells and Butlers sold the property to Fulham-based developers Marshall Hurley. It is understood that The Sandrock sold then for £2million.
Three contentious and failed planning applications later, with schemes to build a large block of flats over the pub’s car park rejected, and a property agent published a notice earlier this month seeking “unconditional offers” for the freehold from £1million.
The Sandrock, which was built in 1867 and is locally listed, does, at least still stand in reasonable condition, offering the (remote) possibility of it being reopened for the purpose intended.
The sales agents’ bumpf gives the game away about its probable fate, though: it is listed under “Residential development”.
The fate of the two other Croydon pubs – The Glamorgan, on Cherry Orchard Road, and The View, in Croham – is equally unpromising, after the malign neglect inflicted on the buildings over more than four years by Hounslow-based developers Butlers Walsall.
Butlers Walsall own both pubs.
They have allowed both buildings to rot – presumably in the hope that the conditions of the old pubs will become so wretched, perhaps even a danger to the public, that the council will cave in and grant planning permission for whatever profit-hungry scheme they put up.
With The View, the owners sent in the wrecking crew in 2017, removing the building’s roof altogether, only stopping when council building inspectors stepped in to point out that they had no planning permission for the illegal demolition. The owners have never been subject to any penalties for their act of vandalism.
At The Glamorgan, they also tried to demolish the Victorian building without planning permission. Repeated planning applications have since been refused. In the meantime, the building has been squatted, all the lead on the roof has been removed and the ground floor bar area vandalised and destroyed.
The auction of The View’s site – there’s barely any salvageable building left – is due to be held on July 6, with opening bids of £1.2million expected for what, almost inevitably, will become a site for more flats.
According to South Croydon ward councillor Maria Gatland, the building has been put up for auction following a recent planning enforcement visit.
“The owner informed the council he was working on a planning application to bring forward in the next months,” Gatland said. “We had heard this many times before.
“There has been at least one other unsuccessful attempt to sell this site. And now it is up for auction.
“Let’s hope whatever now happens will be in the best interest of the local community.”
The Glamorgan, meanwhile, has been granted Asset of Community Value status, which means that owners Butlers Walsall must give the community first refusal before they dispose of the property.
The council this week duly published a formal notification: “In accordance with The Assets of Community Value (England) Regulations 2012, the initial, six-week moratorium period has been triggered. Eligible Community Interest Groups that wish to be considered as a bidder must let the council know by Friday July 23.”
In Shirley, the residents’ campaign which successfully saw off three planning applications for The Sandrock have been celebrating the abandonment of the scheme by the developers, while remaining cautious about the future of the old pub.
“It looks like they are trying to cut their losses,” one said, “as they were said to have bought the site for £2million, and they have spent a fortune on plans.
“The downside is that the cheaper price might tempt another developer to have a go with a new plan.”
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