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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Don’t panic! The Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival reveals its 2022 line-up

Dad's Army title screen
The 1971 film of the hit TV show is one of the festival’s highlights

The Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival is back again in September – but what’s in? PAUL CHAPMAN, one of the organisers, is here to put you in the picture.

Hard to believe that the Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival is already in its seventh year, but this September we are ready to once more go forth with our trusty (borrowed) projectors and screen free films to the citizens of SE7 and SE18.

The dates of this year’s festival are Friday September 9th to 17th, and we’ll be showing our customary mix of films and documentaries – some old, some new – in our customary mix of venues – some old, some new.

On the 11th, we’re showing the Billy Wilder directed classic THE APARTMENT, which reunited Wilder and Lemmon after the success of Some Like It Hot. The Apartment will be screened at the Assembly Rooms in Charlton Village. Two days later on the 13th we’re back in SE7 at the Old Library in Charlton House, where we’ve got the 1971 war comedy DAD’S ARMY, a film adapted from the classic TV series. The event will feature popular Festival recurring character historian Clive Harris, who will give an informal talk beforehand.

Timbuktu promo shot
The powerful drama Timbuktu will be shown at St Luke’s Church

And on Friday 16th we’ve got a Bond classic at an SE18 classic, Shrewsbury House. THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN sees Roger Moore accompanied, as you’d expect, by a fully licensed bar.

That’s three films we’ve already announced, but we can also reveal, exclusive in The Charlton Champion, three more films! On Monday 12th, we are back – after a long interval – at The Star pub in Plumstead. We’ll be screening 2014 comedy-drama PRIDE; the “you’ll laugh, you’ll cry” true story of LGBT activists and their efforts to raise money to support the 1984 miners strike.

A lesser-known 2014 offering comes to St Luke’s Church on Wednesday 14th, with TIMBUKTU, a powerful drama about a family and a city grappling with fundamentalism in Mali. In 2017, The New York Times ranked it the twelfth best film of the 21st century so far!

And for our third Champion exclusive, I can reveal that our Festival closer this year is the epic space opera, DUNE, at Garrison Church on Saturday 17th. Not the 1980s version where Sting dances around in his pants, but the 2021 version starring – like all new films in the last 18 months – Timothee Chalamet. Dune will also feature our old friends from the Flamsteed Astronomy Society, weather permitting, showing us the wonders of the night sky via their mighty telescopes.

There are more films to be announced, once we’ve dotted i’s, crossed the t’s and secured the licenses.

A lot of organisation goes into putting on the festival each year, and we can only show the free films thanks to the generosity of our venues and the generosity of our visitors, who add to our collection buckets at the end of the evenings. In previous years we’ve also been helped through sponsorship, most recently by Greenwich Council.

Sadly this year we’ve been unable to secure council backing (the fund had already closed when we came a-knocking). This will make this years festival more of a challenge, and if there are any potential sponsors out there who are interested in supporting the festival, with all the accompanying promotion and warmth-in-the-tummy-feeling that entails, then feel free to contact our chair for a no-strings chat via gavin[at]freefilmfestivals.org.

And so, all’s that is left is to say we really hope to see lots of you at a film or three this year. Please tell your friends about us, and point them towards our various accounts underneath this article. And keep an eye out for the final published events, we’ve got some real surprises lined up.

That’s all folks.

For more on the Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival, see its website at freefilmfestivals.org. Or follow it on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


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We tell the SE7 stories you won’t read elsewhere. And we’ll do the others better than anyone else. But it won’t survive without your help.

– Please tell us about your news and events – we reach people who stay away from social media groups
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