Charlton’s White Swan shuts its doors as property developer Mendoza takes charge

White Swan, 16 June 2015

5.20pm update: The plot thickens as we’re hearing the pub has opened its doors again… read on for how things stood this morning.

The White Swan pub in Charlton Village has closed, possibly for the last time, after its tenants were evicted on Monday.

Multiple reports on social media say bailiffs threw out the pub’s current managers and changed the locks. The building is now deserted, with a sign on the door asking staff to text their details to a telephone number.

The pub was sold by Punch Taverns in March, with Isle of Man-based property developer Mendoza Ltd picking it up for £900,000.

Mendoza specialises in building above licensed premises, a process which often makes them unviable. In 2012 it evicted the tenants running Lewisham gay bar Two8Six in a similar fashion.

The firm’s also been linked with the closure of the Grosvenor pub/venue in Stockwell through related company Golfrate, as well as its near neighbour The Beehive.

Over in north London, Mendoza and Golfrate doubled the rent on the Sovereign pub in Camden, reportedly leaving its 68-year-old landlord homeless. And in the east, TV presenter Stephen Mulhern was involved in a battle to save his brother’s pub, the Duke of Wellington in Spitalfields, earlier this year after Mendoza announced redevelopment plans.

Last year, Lewisham Council gave permission for extensions to the residential units above Two8Six – a new bar has appeared on the ground floor but doesn’t appear to have opened. Lambeth refused permission for flats above the Grosvenor in Stockwell, which now lies empty, but permitted development above the Beehive. Tower Hamlets has not yet taken a decision on the Duke of Wellington.

It certainly could be the end for the Swan as we know it – although there is the chance a smaller, quieter venue could emerge on the bottom floor, if Greenwich Council blocks any application to change its use.

The tight timescale and huge asking price meant it was always going to be a big, big ask for the community group which looked into saving the White Swan. But given Mendoza’s reputation, we can only assume the group’s sources were deliberately misled when they were told the pub was going to an existing operator.

Meanwhile, further along the village, the Bugle Horn is on the market for £1.5m, with a new manager determined to turn its fortunes around and keep it in business.

7 thoughts on “Charlton’s White Swan shuts its doors as property developer Mendoza takes charge

  1. Paul C June 17, 2015 / 10:18

    Gutted reading this post. For what it’s worth, as Chair of the Community Group talked about in the post, we were told by two separate sources that an agreement was in place for the Swan to be sold to new ‘foreign’ investors who wished to keep it going as a pub. With the Isle of Man link I am sure that Mendoza was that investor. Given Mendoza’s MO as outlined above it seems plausible that they could have ‘sexed up’ their pub-credentials by pointing to a few (isolated) instances where they have bought premises and kept a bar in place (as appears to be the case with Two8Six). Which may be how our sources, and in turn we, were misleadingly informed.

    The game isn’t over yet though. What happens with a possible change-of-use request is down to the council but the local community can still play a role in opposing any such request and strengthening the council’s hand. Regardless, let’s hope Mendoza come out of the shadows soon and tell us what they have planned. In the meantime, I’ll be drinking in the Village as often as I can as part of a one-man grassroots ‘Keep Charlton Pubs Jumping’ campaign. Join in!

  2. peter lapper June 18, 2015 / 08:31

    Very informative, thank you.

  3. Spoontaneous June 21, 2015 / 18:03

    I’m having a beer at the white Swam as we speak. It’s quite busy. 2 Sol £5… 😁

  4. Chris June 21, 2015 / 19:35

    Spoontaneous – “white Swam”?

    You’re sure it was just ‘a’ beer??!! 😉

    • Spoontaneous June 21, 2015 / 19:59

      Hey, the m and the n r next 2 each other just using my mob-hic-ile… 😐

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