The “Brexit dividend” is really not paying off for Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin, with another landmark pub put up for sale.
Probably worse for the area generally is the potentially permanent loss of one of south London’s most popular live music venues.
The Grape and Grain, at the top of Anerley Hill in Crystal Palace, called last orders for the final time in November 2017.
Despite expansive planning applications submitted by ‘Spoons, the company has done nothing with the property since, apart from put hoardings up around the site.
Previously known as the Crystal Palace Hotel and then for many years The Sportsman, the pub had an extensive hall area which helped make it a popular venue for live music – something which Martin and his mates put an end to after they bought the pub in 2014, reportedly for £1.9million.
More than 700 locals signed a petition to Martin eight years ago, calling for him to maintain the existing character of the venue, and its live music offering. But Wetherspoons, who formally took on the Grape and Grain lease in 2016, knew better. The pub closed not long after.
Bromley Council granted planning permission to redevelop the public house, including two- and three-storey extensions, a roof garden and upgraded facilities, subject to conditions, in May 2019.
With that planning permission expired, Wetherspoons has now put the building up for sale.
The Grape and Grain is the latest Wetherspoons local to close or be put on the market: the Milan Bar in Croydon town centre and The Skylark, on South End, both closed in 2022 and remain empty, while the Foxley Hatch in Purley, while put up for sale, continues to trade as a Wetherspoons pub. The Postal Order, in the Crystal Palace Triangle, closed in March 2021.
As many as five Wetherspoons have been sold in 2023.
Given the real estate value of the Grape and Grain site, and the lengthy period it has been derelict, the only wonder is why it took Wetherspoons so long to decide to sell it.
“Wetherspoon can confirm that it has put the site up for sale. Wetherspoon will now not be developing the site into one of its pubs. This is a commercial decision by the company,” a spokesman said.
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