One eagle stays, the other hidden in Victoria pub’s pizza revamp

The Victoria in 2018. It has suffered further damage since

Updated story: Developers who are turning the derelict Victoria pub on Woolwich Road into a pizza takeaway have said they will keep its famous spread eagle in place at the front of the building – but hide another eagle motif at the site of the pub.

Zaan Group, a Domino’s Pizza franchise based in Gillingham, Kent, won planning permission in 2019 to refurbish the long-closed pub as a takeaway and build a single flat at the rear of the building.

Earlier this year, a replacement proposal to build two flats at the back of the pub rather than one was approved by Greenwich Council planners.

The pub, on Woolwich Road, is thought to have closed in the 1990s and is now a burnt-out shell. But its exterior has survived, including a spread eagle motif for east London’s Truman brewery over the entrance, helping make the building a local landmark.

Developers have told Greenwich Council that this eagle will stay…

Neither proposal went to a planning meeting so developers were not questioned in public about their proposals. Under Greenwich’s rules, eight people need to get in contact with concerns, or local councillors can call a scheme in for scrutiny, but neither happened for The Victoria.

Last month, construction details were submitted to planners for their approval – featuring architectural drawings that included illuminated Domino’s signage but omitted the spread eagle.

A report elsewhere, published the same day that the details appeared on the council website, and accompanying social media posts implied that this meant the developer was removing the much-loved feature.

Plans submitted to Greenwich omit the spread eagle

But Greenwich Council has told The Charlton Champion that the developer intends to keep the eagle over the door – and has been asked to update its drawings to reassure residents.

However, a second eagle insignia, at the side of the pub, is due to be hidden beneath Domino’s signage under the developers’ plans. The building is on the council’s local heritage list, which mentions both eagle motifs.

…however, the eagle at the side is due to be hidden

A Greenwich spokesperson said: “The council is currently considering a submission of details application for the former Victoria pub in Charlton.

“The applicant has confirmed that its planning proposal seeks to retain the eagle motif at the front of the building, along with the existing fascia sign, but it does not include plans to retain the eagle motif at the side of the building.

“We have asked the applicant to provide new architect’s drawings that include these important details and to avoid any further confusion.”

Sam Bowman, of Sittingbourne-based Beau Architecture, which submitted the application to the council, told The Charlton Champion: “The existing signage and Eagle Motif is to be retained. Any existing signage is to remain in situ and preserved beneath any new signage proposed as per the attached.”

Plans indicate that construction would take 74 weeks, suggesting that work is unlikely to be finished until well into 2024 at the earliest.

Revised drawings show the spread eagle in place

While the submission of detailed plans indicate progress with the plan, they still do not guarantee the development will happen: the owner of the White Swan submitted similar details for the house it wants to build on part of its beer garden last year, but construction has not yet begun.

Close to the Victoria, a planning inspector recently approved 255 homes on land between Eastmoor Street and Westmoor Street after throwing out a rejection by Greenwich’s planning board.

Residents can see the full details of the Victoria plans and respond to the application on the Greenwich Council planning website.

Alternatively, comments can be sent to planningapps[at]royalgreenwich.gov.uk citing reference 22/2493/SD.

Residents in the new Charlton Village and Riverside ward who contact the planning department may also want to contact their local councillors if they have concerns about the development.

Story updated to include comment from Beau Architecture and new drawing.


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Greenwich Council alerted after White Swan ceiling collapse

The White Swan
The White Swan has been unused since March 2020. Six Nations rugby flags are still on display

Greenwich Council is investigating after part of the ceiling appeared to have collapsed at the White Swan pub, which is owned by property developers and has been closed for more than two years.

The council says it is looking into the issue after reports that people were seen moving into the upper floor of the pub amid fears that it could be being deliberately damaged.

While the town hall says it accepts that someone may live on site for security purposes, its inspectors were due to visit on Monday to look at the situation.

A quantity of plaster has fallen from the ceiling into the bar, which has not been used since March 2020. The pub closed just before the first lockdown, after a lengthy battle to pay the rent demanded by the Isle of Man-based property developer Mendoza, which bought the freehold from Punch Taverns for £900,000 in 2015.

White Swan interior
Plaster has fallen into the area by the women’s toilet

The ground floor and basement of the pub have been on the market since August 2020albeit at £40,000/year rent. No application has been made to change the use of the upstairs floors, which were used as function rooms.

The following November planning permission was given for a house on land behind the pub, which would occupy some of the beer garden. Mendoza later told Greenwich Council that the house would be built between June and October last year, but no work has begun.

A Greenwich Council spokesperson told The Charlton Champion on Monday evening: “We received a complaint in February 2021 about the space above the pub being used for residential purposes. Following investigation at the time we established that there was a pre-existing occupied flat there but that this was lawful and helpful in deterring any unauthorised entry and occupation.

“The ground floor at that time was not occupied for residential use. The officer concluded that there was no breach of planning control and records show no enforcement cases have been opened since then.

“Planning enforcement officers were due to seek to gain access today to inspect the premises following this report.”

It is not known whether a visit took place or if council officers could gain access.

Glasshouse Asset Management, Mendoza’s property agent, and ECF, which was looking after the company’s communications, have not responded to a request for comment.


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The Valley could host large concerts next summer, Charlton Athletic owner says

Rainbow at The Valley
Thomas Sandgaard hopes concerts will bring crowds to The Valley

Charlton Athletic’s owner Thomas Sandgaard has revealed that The Valley could stage large concerts next summer – the first since 2006.

The Danish-American businessman revealed his plans to put the stadium back on the musical map in an interview with Masthead, a magazine published by the South East London Chamber of Commerce.

The Valley’s last big gig was a performance by Elton John 16 years ago, but back in the 1970s, the stadium – which then boasted the vast East Terrace – hosted two huge shows by The Who, drawing tens of thousands of fans. The second concert, in May 1976 with The Sensational Alex Harvey Band and Little Feat among the support acts, was recorded as the world’s loudest, with the sound reaching 120 decibels.

Any new show will not be as big and is very unlikely to be as loud – but Sandgaard, a rock musician who has written his own song for Charlton, Addicks to Victory, told the magazine he was looking forward to hosting the shows.

“This fits in with my background and I am really excited that we will stage some great events at The Valley,” told the magazine.

Last year the club revealed plans to host a Queen tribute show for 1,700 people, but nothing came of the proposal.

Sandgaard bought Charlton nearly two years ago after a turbulent spell under the eccentric Belgian businessman Roland Duchâtelet, whose botched sale to the East Street Investments consortium nearly put the club out of business. Duchâtelet still owns The Valley as well as the club’s training ground in New Eltham.

With the club still languishing in League One, Sandgaard’s ownership has come under scrutiny after his decision to fire team manager Johnnie Jackson in May.

Jackson was replaced five weeks later by Ben Garner from Swindon Town, who has brought over key staff and players from the League Two club, with Sandgaard demanding a more attack-minded style of football.

Sandgaard – who owns the hospital equipment company Zynex Medical – told Masthead that he saw Charlton as a “turnaround challenge”.

“In many ways a football club is like any other business,” he said. “I have been involved with many turnarounds before. It is about getting the right people on board and the right culture in place.”

Fans will get a chance to see Garner’s team at The Valley on Saturday when they play Swansea City in a friendly, with tickets on sale now.

This season The Charlton Champion will carry reporter Kevin Nolan‘s dispatches from selected home games, beginning with the match against Derby County on August 6.


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