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.
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.
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.
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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