A Greenwich Council planning committee has backed plans to build eight flats, a gym and a retail unit in an extension to the Antigallican pub at the foot of Charlton Church Lane.
The pub would stay in operation under the proposals, which include having a three-storey extension built facing Woolwich Road to help accommodate the new homes and retail unit. But it would lose its function room, which would be turned into a gym for the new residents, while its 23 hotel rooms would also go.
Six councillors on the Greenwich area planning committee backed the scheme unanimously, saying it would help protect the future of the pub, which is believed to date back to the 1870s.
Both the Charlton Society and the Charlton Central Residents’ Association had objected to the proposal, claiming it was an inappropriate location to build housing.
However, the council’s environmental health team had backed a condition that the flats be fitted with mechanical ventilation to mitigate the air pollution problem at the junction.
Owner and licensee Sean Murphy told the committee that the hotel rooms above the pub had been unable to compete with new hotels opening in nearby Woolwich.
“The hotel rooms used to be 80% full, now it’s down to 50%,” he said, adding that the only boosts to trade came from events at the O2.
Councillors were told by planning officers that the current hotel rooms – 10 of which have shared toilet and and bathroom facilities – “were not high quality for servicing tourists’ needs” while the new flats would provide a “high quality living environment”. Residents of the new blocks would be barred from obtaining parking permits.
Murphy agreed to a condition that the flats should have sprinklers, saying to install them would be “no problem”. “After Grenfell and so on, it’s in everybody’s interests.”
Committee chair Mark James (Middle Park & Sutcliffe, Labour) praised what he called “an innovative scheme”, while Peninsula councillor Chris Lloyd (Labour) noted the loss of other pubs on the Woolwich Road in recent years.
Greenwich West councillor Mehboob Khan (Labour) said the proposal was “in keeping with the character of the area” and would support a “struggling local business”.
“It would be a shame to lose the pub after 150 years – long may it continue.”