Planning inspector throws out scheme to build house by White Swan beer garden

White Swan
Mendoza bought the freehold to the White Swan in March 2015

The firm which owns the freehold to the White Swan pub in Charlton Village, property developer Mendoza Ltd, is has lost its third attempt to build housing on land behind its beer garden.

The Isle of Man-based company, which makes its money from buying pubs and converting at least part of the land to residential use, has had two past applications rejected.

Now a planning inspector has upheld Greenwich Council officers’ decision to throw out the third application, to build one three-bedroom house on the currently-disused land which sits between the beer garden and the Torrance Close service road.

The house would have been partly built below ground level to reduce its impact on the surrounding conservation area, and would have no windows that could open onto the beer garden.

However, planning inspector Gary Deene rejected the scheme, saying “the proposed development would unacceptably harm the character and appearance of the local area”.

White Swan planning application
The rejected proposal was for one house, sunk partly below ground level

There is a glimmer of hope for the developer – the inspector did not wholly reject the idea of building on Torrance Close, saying: “The local area to which the site belongs [Torrance Close] has an air of neglect and to my mind is capable of successfully accommodating a bespoke form of new development.

“The conservation area itself has no single unifying architectural theme and there is no obvious reason why it could not in principle readily assimilate a variety of new dwellings in terms of size and style.”

The plans were first submitted to Greenwich Council in summer 2017. Mendoza bought the pub from previous owner Punch Taverns in March 2015, evicting the then-management three months later. However, it reopened in September 2015 under the management of Greenwich’s Pelton Arms boss Geoff Keen, who is trying to keep it as a viable, community-focused pub. A second bar and function room has now opened on the pub’s upper floor.


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