Planning’s latest nadir as Olde Clocktower pub is demolished

‘Blatant vandalism’: Ye Olde Clocktower has been demolished

Croydon has lost another community pub in what the local beer campaign group has described as an act of “blatant vandalism” after Ye Olde Clocktower on the corner of the busy Whitehorse Road and Union Road was demolished without any valid or legal planning permission.

The pub’s business was already one of the victims of covid, the landlords having called last orders for a final time in October 2020 after a brief hurrah following the first lockdown. The pub has been closed ever since, with the building sold to a property developer in July this year.

Quick work: nothing remains of the old pub

The building’s then-owners did have a planning application approved by Croydon Council in 2019, but that called for the “retention and extension of the existing pub… on the ground floor”, while also extending the first floor and building two additional storeys to create five two-bed flats.

A formal request to vary the conditions of that planning permission was submitted to the council’s planning department in October this year, with further amendments made just a couple of days before Christmas, on December 22.

This latest submission to the council planners was made on behalf of the building’s current owner, Hussnan Nadir.

While the application had yet to receive any decision from the council, even these revised plans still included using the ground floor as a pub.

Busy boozer: Ye Olde Clocktower was popular with locals until it closed in October 2020

According to the building’s planning history, there had been an application from previous owners in 2013 to demolish the pub, but this had been rejected by the council, who even had their decision upheld by the government’s planning inspectorate.

Nadir’s company, XYMA 1 Ltd, had acquired the pub building in the summer. It seems a reasonable assumption that the purchase was not made to go into the pub, hospitality or restaurant business.

According to Companies House records, XYMA 1 Ltd is based in Greenwich and trades in the “development of building projects”.

As has come to be expected, the demolition of Ye Olde Clocktower occurred without any immediate action or response from Croydon Council’s developer-friendly planning enforcement team.

The destruction has attracted widespread criticism, with calls for the owners to be forced to re-build the pub, as happened with the Carlton Tavern in Maida Vale after a six-year campaign.

On the record: even plans submitted on Dec 22 this year included retaining the pub

Ye Olde Clocktower was neither a listed building nor in a conservation area, and had never been granted Asset of Community Value status.

Today, Dave Lands, the chair of the Croydon and Sutton branch of the Campaign for Real Ale – CAMRA – told Inside Croydon, “It is disappointing that the provisions of planning legislation and the Croydon Plan have been blatantly broken in this act of vandalism.

“The protection of our local pubs as community assets is vital. The council should seek restoration of the property following the example of Westminster Council in the similar case of the Carlton Tavern.”

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7 Responses to Planning’s latest nadir as Olde Clocktower pub is demolished

  1. These people just walk over the law and the residents of this town, apparently with impunity. Surely a very substantial fine and a requirement to rebuild is the only way the prevent this. I cannot imagine a gutless council, or is there another reason to turn a blind eye, will do anything.

  2. Jim Bush says:

    This pub, which used to have strippers appearing there, was one of Croydon’s seediest pubs and will be no loss.

  3. Lewis White says:

    Pity, another nice old corner pub bites the dust, revealing a hideous building in the road behind.
    The drawing of a replacement building on the site depicts a generic small block of flats with a visual mess of a ground floor window.

    There are many similar buildings in Croydon. Some are not bad, some not good.

    The difference between good examples and bad examples seems to depend on the materials used for the walls, the potential for staining and mould as a result of poor detailing resulting in water streaking down the facade, and the quality of the windows and doors.

    At least this one seems to be in brickwork, which normally weathers reasonably well, depending on the brick used, and whether the designer fully understands that water drips off balcony copings and window cills, which therefore need to be drained with inbuilt drainage channels, or need to stick out far enough to stop water streaking down and staining the walls below. Far too many buildings, even by good architects, feature streaks of green / black mould down the face of the building, because water is not dealt with properly. Architects need to be trained in real life climate UK style. It is wet.

    Damp and mould is a common feature in particular, with outer walls that are cheaply built in blockwork, and then rendered in white or coloured cement render. There are dozens of truly appalling rendered buildings on busy main roads like this in all parts of Croydon. The traffic grime plus the water staining creates a mess and gives the building the aspect of a slum within 5 years.

    This one resembles in shape and elevational arangment a building in Coulsdon which is mainly in brick, but with large white (now algae streaked) rendered areas. Unfortunately the upper balcony in that case cannot have been waterproofed correcty, as dampness is oozing out through the brickwork balcony parapet wall, at various places level with the balcony deck. One hopes that it is not oozing into the flats as well.

    If this “Old Clocktower” proposal or a similar building gets the green light from planners, I do hope that they insist on good quality brickwork. And do not agree to a change of materials to rendering under any circumstances.

  4. Bill Smith says:

    I actually took the time to study the drawings for which planning permission was granted and it’s pretty obvious that despite the title of the planning application, there is very little of the old pub that would have remained with the proposed plans, other than the front facade which was cladded in cheap PVC panelling to match the cheap PCV glazing; both of which imitate a brown varnished wood-like finish.

    It’ll be interesting to see what comes of this, as I’d hate to see it sit as a hoarded derelict site on such a busy road – as if Whitehorse Road wasn’t an eye sore enough!

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