White Swan freeholder plans to shrink beer garden for new housebuilding plan

The road to the house’s bin store would run through this outbuilding and the beer garden behind

The company that owns the freehold to the White Swan pub has made its fourth application to build on land behind the pub’s beer garden – taking a strip off the pub’s beer garden in doing so.

Isle of Man-based Mendoza Ltd, which makes money through buying pubs and turning part of the land into housing, again wants to build a three-bedroom house on land behind the pub, although with a new design that takes inspiration from the Swan’s neighbour, The Bugle Horn. The plan eight months after a planning inspector threw out its last attempt.

In an application submitted to Greenwich Council, it says that planning officers are now supportive of the scheme, which would see the house face the Torrance Close service road behind The Village.

This access route would be extended to the new house

However, the new plan involves using the yard at the side of the pub – and part of the beer garden – as an access route so council bin lorries can collect refuse from the new house by driving in from The Village. Plans submitted by Mendoza show the road running through an outbuilding and the east side of the beer garden. Greenwich Council had told the developer that its bin lorries were too big to use Torrance Close.

The beer garden will be used on Sunday for a Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival screening of Life of Brian.

While Torrance Close had been seen as unsuitable for new homes by many, the planning inspector who dealt with the last application did not agree, 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 access route to the bin store can be seen on maps submitted with the planning application

The developer says the design of the home is informed by “a visual analysis of the area”, citing the Bugle Horn and Charlton Assembly Rooms. “The immediate site context is interspersed with Victorian outhouses, chimneys, single and gable- pitched roofs, brick ornamentation, linear facades and window surrounds,” it says. “There is a sense of establishment with most buildings with specular geometries added to address function and enhance the parent form.”

Mendoza render of new White Swan home
How Mendoza says the new home would look

Mendoza bought the pub from previous owner Punch Taverns in March 2015, evicting the then-management three months later. A first attempt at development, to build two homes, in October 2015, was thrown out by Greenwich Council planners. That decision was upheld by a planning inspector. A second attempt was rejected earlier in 2017. The third attempt, for one three-bedroom house, was rejected by council planners in December 2017 and again by a planning inspector in January. The pub was declared an asset of community value in March 2014, although this has now lapsed.

It is four years this month since the once-tatty pub was taken over by Geoff Keen, owner of Greenwich’s Pelton Arms. It recently launched a new menu on Tuesdays to Sundays, with a vegan pop-up, Rocket, in place on Monday evenings.

Plans can be seen on Greenwich Council’s planning website, reference 19/2600/F. Comments should be sent to the council by 2 October.


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Westcombe Hill to get new bus to North Greenwich from October

Route 335 map
The new 335 service will follow the red route to North Greenwich

Bus users who live on the western side of Charlton will get a new service to North Greenwich from October after Transport for London confirmed its new route, the 335, will run via Westcombe Hill.

The new double-deck service will run between Kidbrooke and North Greenwich every 12 minutes during Monday to Saturday daytimes and every 15 minutes during evenings and Sundays. TfL hopes to begin the service, which will provide relief to the often-overcrowded 108 route, on 26 October.

Two options were presented in a consultation, with the possibility that the route could run straight down the A102, as the current 132 service does now. TfL – backed by Greenwich Council – opted to for a route via Kidbrooke Park Road, Shooters Hill Road, Stratheden Road and Westcombe Hill, to follow the 108 to North Greenwich.

The Westcombe Society – an amenity society for the Westcombe Park area – had led objections to the route serving Westcombe Hill, which has been a bus route for over a century. According to TfL, the society said running via Westcombe Hill was “unacceptable to residents who already suffer from frequent buses on a residential road”. It claimed the area was already “well served for buses to Greenwich Peninsula and North Greenwich”.

Another group, the Westcombe Traffic Group, complained about noise and pollution and called for buses on route 132 to be given double-decker buses to serve passengers from Kidbrooke. Double-decker buses have operated route 132 for ten years. TfL plans to use hybrids on the new 335. (Read the full consultation report.)

While the new route will be of huge use to those who have struggled to squeeze onto routes 108 or 422 to North Greenwich, it remains to be seen whether buses will already be crowded by the time they reach Westcombe Hill. The service is being funded by money from Berkeley Homes, which is developing the Kidbrooke Village development; while Transport for London – which has been cutting services in recent years due to financial problems – says it is using business rates income to bring the introduction of the bus forward.

It will also add to crowding at North Greenwich bus station, which already struggles in the evening rush hour. Plans are afoot for a new bus station, but a dramatic design with 24-storey towers has reportedly been dropped.


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Charlton Riverside: Stone Foundries site sold with 1,500 more homes planned

Stone Foundries, Charlton
Stone Foundries was founded in Deptford in the 1830s

One of Charlton’s longest-established industrial concerns, Stone Foundries, is to close after a developer bought its land for a development of up to 1,500 new homes.

The sale of the Stone site to Staines-based developer Montreaux marks a key turning point in the slow transformation of Charlton’s riverside from an industrial into a residential area.

Montreaux recently won approval to turn an old margarine factory in Southall, west London, into a high-density development of 2,000 homes; while more locally it has also bought the old Lamorbey swimming baths in Sidcup for a mixed-use development.

Stone’s sale marks the end of nearly 190 of years of business in the local area. In 1831, founder Josiah Stone set up a business in Deptford casting copper nails for the shipbuilding industry. Part of the business moved to Charlton in 1917, where it continued to make castings for ships, and still produces fittings for the aerospace industry. The Deptford works closed in 1969. The firm was bought and merged into UK-based parts maker Aeromet last year.

An Aeromet spokesperson told The Charlton Champion yesterday that it was in the process of moving the former Stone operations to its sites in Rochester and Sittingbourne, both in Kent.

At its height, Stone even had extensive sports fields stretching out onto the Woolwich Road, now the site of the Stone Lake retail park.

Stone has outlasted many of its industrial neighbours by decades – the huge United Glass Works on Anchor & Hope Lane closed in 1968, Johnsen & Jorgensen’s glass works shut in 1981.

One challenge for any developer will be that some of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s Stone buildings – though unseen by most locals – are now locally listed, with the site covered by a conservation area. According to Greenwich Council’s heritage list: “The site qualifies on the grounds of historic interest mainly due to its high importance for the British Royal Navy during the C20, especially during WWI and WWII and as a notable site of employment heritage. The buildings described above are of architectural interest, especially the Offices, the Laboratory and Odeon Buildings, being substantially intact and evocative surviving examples of an engineering foundry that was of national and strategic importance. This suite of buildings is also notable for quality of materials and décor, given their construction date when so little was being built.”

The land sale means there are now five major redevelopment sites on the Charlton riverside, mostly adjacent to one another, and all at various stages in the planning process.

The other four schemes, from west to east, are:

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