Charlton’s Bugle Horn pub revamp ends after £30,000 cellar bill

Bugle Horn

Plans to revive Charlton Village’s Bugle Horn pub have ground to a halt after the leaseholders declined to pay a £30,000 to repair vital equipment in its cellar.

The pub, which has been put up for sale by Punch Taverns, has been run on a short-term lease for the past six weeks after the departure of its long-serving past management.

New manager Stephen Ruffle had been redecorating the pub’s interior and had embarked on a plan to broaden the old boozer’s appeal.

But the firm that’s leasing the pub has baulked at paying £30,000 to repair ale coolers in the cellar, fearing the the cost would not be recouped over the current lease’s short term.

Today (Tuesday) was due to be the last day under Stephen’s management – plunging the pub’s future back into uncertainty. However, the pub was locked and closed this afternoon, with a cleaner at work inside.

Punch is hoping to sell the pub, a Grade II listed building, for £1.5 million – a hefty price tag for a building that’s going to need substantial work to make it fit for the future.

Like its neighbour the White Swan, the pub was last month declared an Asset of Community Value, meaning any sale would have to be paused for six months to allow community groups time to bid. However, it would take a phenomenal effort for such a bid to raise that sum of money.

White Swan

Despite the Swan’s designation as an ACV, that pub is also in troubled times, after it was sold to developer Mendoza Ltd by Punch Taverns.

Rents have been increased and that pub is also on the market – minus the rooms upstairs – for £35,000 per year.

One thing that could boost the fortunes of both pubs would be for Greenwich Council to place an Article 4 direction on them, preventing any change of use. But despite this being raised repeatedly, this hasn’t been forthcoming.

8 thoughts on “Charlton’s Bugle Horn pub revamp ends after £30,000 cellar bill

  1. peter lapper July 21, 2015 / 20:54

    It’s sad but the pub game is really quite dead these days, shutting down all over the country, due to cheap booze in all the super markets. I do hope The Bugle stays though, don’t know about the Swan, sad times for us old folks to see this carry on.
    peter lapper X 2 Prince Henry rd.

  2. Susie Goss July 21, 2015 / 23:14

    I’m sure Punch Taverns are delighted since all they want is to sell the place and make as much money as possible. They don’t give a damn about anything but that! What a waste of a good opportunity and a landlord who was willing to put in some hard graft to try and make it work.

  3. Cllr Gary Parker July 22, 2015 / 09:54

    I raised the change of use issue with senior council officers, several months ago, in connection with Charlton pubs, they assured me that any potential change of use could contravene current council planning policies, as the owners would have to prove that it was not a viable business. Given the level of interest and other potential managers it would make it a challenge to prove this, subject to the council’s planning processes and procedures.
    Councillor Gary Parker, Charlton Ward

  4. fahy July 23, 2015 / 17:32

    Important to get a meeting of interested parties together to secure a long term future for the White Swan. Early contact with the new owners essential

  5. clogsilk July 26, 2015 / 19:50

    as I understand it Article 4 doesn’t prevent change of use, that can still be granted by the council. All the article 4 would mean, I guess, is that the council would be unlikely to grant such a request. The fact they’ve refused requests to give this protection says a lot.

  6. Cllr Gary Parker July 29, 2015 / 20:24

    The council officers view is that they already have enough powers to prevent change of use, subject to Planning procedures, so Article 4 is not needed at the moment as both are assets of community value

  7. Darryl July 30, 2015 / 00:45

    Thank you for the update, Gary – it’s much appreciated.

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