Croydon pub’s conversion plan would be a ‘blow to the community’

BY CALUM FRASER calum@slpmedia.co.uk­

A landlord says it will be a “blow to the community” if a developer get its way and converts part of it into flats.

Donal Dempsey fears the Welcome Inn, in Parchmore Road, Croydon, which he has run for more than 20 years, could be lost if a planning application submitted by property owner Wellington Pub Co, is given the green light.

The plans would see the Croydon pub cut back.

The kitchen and upstairs staff accommodation area would be converted into one-bedroomed flats, while a maisonette will be built on the beer garden.

Mr Dempsey, of Thornton Heath, said: “It’s a pub that is invested in the area. We have a darts team, we host local parties, we know the punters well.

“This would be another hit to the community.

“It’s sad personally as well. When my dad took the place over we put a lot effort in turning it around. It had a bad reputation. It had been firebombed.

We poured ourselves into this place, now it’s going to be lost. “The pub will not be viable. It’s going to be too small for live music, karaoke and parties.”

Croydon has lost 45 per cent of its pubs in less than two decades, according to the Mayor’s London Plan.

In Thornton Heath, The Flora Sandes closed in May this year, while The Thomas Farley, The Reform Tavern and The Lord Napier have long been boarded up or redeveloped.

The Welcome Inn is one of only two pubs left in the ward.

To tackle this, the London Plan says pubs “should be protected by local authorities in order to protect the capital’s unique character”.

Croydon’s Local Plan reflects that, stating the council will resist the loss of a public house “unless it can be demonstrated that it is no longer required in its current use”.

Wellington Pub Co’s application was submitted in March and it will be considered at a Croydon council planning board on July 5.

Mr Dempsey said: “I was shocked by the extent of the application. They’re chopping the pub up.

“We have been looking to do a large investment in the pub for the past two years, and we are still willing to do that if the application is turned down.

“We feel they played us along during that time.

“We feel used. They were asking us for proposals while having meetings with the council. “We were not even told by them when they submitted the planning application.”

Thornton Heath ward Councillors Callton Young, Karen Jewitt and Pat Clouder have penned a letter of objection.

In it they say: “The devil is in the detail. The proposal would considerably reduce the floor area of The Welcome Inn.

“Put it this way, writing a plausible risk assessment for a darts match there would be a serious challenge.

“In addition, the beer garden, relied upon by local residents for private functions, would radically be reduced to a fraction of its size and become unfit for purpose.”

Councillor Young said: “The Welcome Inn is a community pub, an asset of community value and just too important to lose.”

Wellington Pub Co had not commented on the story at the time of going to press.

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