A popular pub in Catford is under threat of closure from a redevelopment plan that would transform the space into flats and retail storage.
The Catford Bridge Tavern replaced The Copperfield Public House earlier this year, after the latter closed as a result of complaints about noise and drug use. It has been very successful in changing the use and clientele of the pub.
The staff of the Tavern have launched a petition against the planning application by landlord Technostar Ltd c/o DVS Property Ltd, in hope to save the pub from being shut.
Theresa Matzat, assistant manager of the pub, told EastLondonLines: “ We’re going to fight this. We’ve just launched a petition which is also going to be available on-line. Already lots of people have signed it. We’ve also received a lot of positive emails.”
The landlord refused to comment, saying nothing has been confirmed yet.
Only two weeks ago, EastLondonLines reported on an initiative by Lewisham Council to help protect local pubs after the Sustainable Development Select Committee found 53 pubs in the borough had closed in the last 10 years.
In a meeting of Lewisham Council last week, a plan was put forward with six suggestions including ‘listing’ pub buildings so that they cannot easily be re-developed. However a decision on the proposals has been postponed.
Angered locals have already tweeted their reactions: @Jimthebrewer said: “oppose the application to close the pub? Yes. Unless that was a joke?”.
While @eljohyle83 tweeted: “you’ve revolutionised after work socialising in Catford, we want you to stay!`’
Matzat said that locals come to the pub to enjoy their favorite beer or sample their “amazing food”. She added: “It would be such a shame to close down the pub, especially when there are only four left in Catford.
“There is no need in the change of use, the pub is always crowded. Last week was actually a record in terms of the number of people that showed up.”
Under the proposal, the landlord will build five sustainable flats above the pub, while the basement will become retail storage.
The Sustainable Development Select Committee’s chair and Labour councillor Liam Curran told EastLondonLines: “We have been worried about pubs closing in Lewisham for a few years, but now pubs are closing unnecessary as half of all pubs in Lewisham have closed in 20 years.
“We knew something had to be done so we got all our evidence together and put forward our enquiries. It’s a race against time, as pubs are an important part of the fabric of London life. It’s a democratic place, for all kinds of people and it keeps the community together.”
The future of The Catford Bridge Tavern will be decided on November 22, in a meeting of Lewisham Council.
Additional reporting by Lauren Powell