£2m auction deal could take HG Wells back to the future

A landmark pub in Worcester Park appears to have been saved from demolition or conversion into flats, after a private buyer paid more than £2million for the property.

Reprieved?: The HG Wells, sold for more than £2m

The HG Wells, on Cheam Common Road, has been closed for so long it doesn’t even feature on the listings page of the local CAMRA – Campaign for Real Ale – Croydon and Sutton branch any longer.

The pub had in fact closed before the first covid lockdown in March 2020. It was seen as one of around a dozen locals across Sutton and Croydon which had closed permanently because of the business impact of the pandemic.

But today auctioneers Savills announced that they had achieved more than the £2million guide price, adding, “The new owners intend to undertake a full refurbishment prior to reopening.”

No further details were provided, and the purchasers were not identified.

The pub was so-named because the visionary Victorian science fiction author – War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, The Time Machine – had once lived in the area.

The pub was one of 370 commercial properties sold in early 2019 in a £348million deal by Ei Group, now known as Stonegate, one of the country’s biggest pub operators. The buyers then were Tavern Propco, a newly incorporated private company owned ultimately by investment funds.

At the auction, they were offering the freehold of the HG Wells, with the leasehold also available.

With space inside for around 80 seated customers, a bar and kitchen area, and a large beer garden and patio capable of accommodating 120, plus parking space in the 0.49-acre site, the new owners will certainly be taking on a venue with plenty of scope.

Redevelopment cannot be ruled out, however. In their sales particulars, Savills noted that the site has “potential” to convert “for residential use or an alternative scheme subject to obtaining the necessary planning consents”.

Read more: CAMRA counts cost of covid as 12 local pubs fail to reopen

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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