White Swan: Plans for beer garden house on hold so councillors can visit pub

Mendoza render of new White Swan home
How Mendoza says the new home would look from Torrance Close, behind the pub: it would largely be hidden from view by a wall

Greenwich councillors deferred a decision whether or not a house should be built at the back of the White Swan pub so they can take a closer look at the site themselves.

Members of the Woolwich and Thamesmead planning committee voted to have a site visit before deciding on the proposal from Mendoza Ltd, the owner of the pub.

Council officers are recommending councillors approve a three-bedroom bungalow on land behind the beer garden – taking a strip off the beer garden to build an access path so council bin lorries can take away its rubbish from the front of the pub.

It is the company’s fourth attempt to build on the land since it bought the freehold from Punch Taverns in March 2015 – past attempts have been refused by the council and a planning inspector. The pub itself has been closed since March, but the company has said it will look for a new tenant.

After a discussion about the removal of trees in the beer garden (from 57 minutes in the video above), Thamesmead Moorings Labour councillor Averil Lekau said she was unfamiliar with the site and would prefer to see it for herself. “Would it not be possible to have a visit to get some clarity on what we’re deciding on?,” she said.

She was supported by Nigel Fletcher, a Conservative councillor for Eltham South, who called it an unusual application. “I know the pub but I don’t think I’ve ever been in the beer garden,” he said. “I’m having quite a bit of difficulty visualising the site and it’s quite a sensitive one; a lot of what we’re being asked to consider are the narrow grounds between this and previously refused schemes.”

There were nine objections, including from the Charlton Society. Planning officers are recommending an acoustic fence is put up to shield the house from the pub’s noise, while a tree in the beer garden should be replaced.

The scheme will return to the committee once councillors have visited the pub to see the location for themselves.

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