Locals in Grove Park are worried that their favourite pub will be closing down after plans to make new flats on the land were unveiled.
The Baring Hall Hotel pub was originally saved by Antic pub group in December 2013 after a fire damaged the building in 2011.
Now Antic are hoping to get plans – for four shops and seven flats in the car park of the pub – approved. Locals fear this could spell the end for the Baring Hall Hotel, saying they are not convinced by Antic’s argument that they will leave the pub untouched.
Antic’s development plans were originally rejected by Lewisham council after the initial application in 2013 on the grounds that the proposed development would be unsympathetic to the historic character of the pub.
The council also had concerns about the living conditions in some of the flats due to overcrowding and over-shadowing, and the planning inspector also felt that the positioning of the bin stores could lead to “an unattractive public sight”.
However, after the initial request was denied there will be an appeal trial to overturn the decision on October 16 held at the national planning appeal court in Bristol. Locals believe that if Antic receive permission to develop the premises it could spell the end of the pub.
Antic have a history of closing pubs for re-development, having closed the Ravensbourne Arms in Lewisham in order to make seven luxury flats in 2016.
A spokesperson for the Antic pub group told Eastlondonlines: “We have no plans to close the Baring Hall pub in any shape or form. The only plans we have for the Baring site is to make use of the derelict land behind it by building commercial and residential units.”
Paul Ross is a local and has been part of the campaign to protect the pub. He told Eastlondonlines: “Grove Park and Lewisham for that matter is an up-and-coming area, so people are keen to buy land and develop on it. It’s a shame because it really is a big part of the local community.”
On Antic’s website, they state that they have returned the pub to its former glory, but Ross believes more could be done.
He said: “The place is falling into disrepair, nothing would appear to have done to maintain the fabric of the building with the roof, windows and downpipes, all needing immediate work. Sadly, I think this shows that they have always had other intentions for the premises.
“The pub really is a thriving part of the community, a few Tuesdays ago there were 140 people in for the quiz night and if it was looked after more and with some greater promotion, I’m sure public house viability wouldn’t be a concern.”
Research commissioned early this year by London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, showed that London has lost 1,220 pubs since 2001 and that the borough of Lewisham is one of the worst off losing over 41%.
You can comment on the plans on the planning inspectorate website until October 16 here: