Developers get go-ahead to build houses on Pickwick pub garden

Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road
The Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road. Photo by Neil Clasper

Developers have been given the green light to concrete over a pub garden in Charlton and build six new houses, despite concerns from neighbours in overlooking properties.

Greenwich councillor’s approval came months after officers threw out a scheme to bulldoze the closed Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road.

The developer, Pure Let Greenwich, put forward plans to demolish the pub’s extension in place of six new homes, concreting over the pub’s garden in the process.

Neighbour Susan Archer said her house had not been considered by officers who had recommended approving the development, which would have a four-bed family property at its rear.

She said: “My conservatory would be directly looked into by the four bedroom property. The rear buildings will be able to see directly into my property. My privacy will be totally affected.”

The resident said there has also been confusion amongst residents as to what the application was, as a previous scheme for the pub itself was thrown out last year.

A model of the plans, with the original scheme to bulldoze the pub in the corner

Council officers rejected plans last year to bulldoze the three-storey pub after more than a dozen people objected to losing the building.

The neighbour said there could have been more people objecting if the process had been clearer.

Developers said they would plant trees to screen her property from overlooking, but were left red-faced when asked about why they had already cut a tree without permission.

Chair Sarah Merrill said: “In the plans it very clearly says the tree is to be retained but it has been felled. If that’s an old plan as you say what is it doing before us.

“My view is that the pub is empty, the community space at the back is falling down. It’s an eyesore – the land is vacant. When I first looked at the application I was happy you were retaining trees so then to find out you’ve felled the huge one is upsetting. That’s disingenuous.

“However it is not worth turning down housing on those grounds. I do share concerns from the resident and there is going to be a very firm condition for screening.”

The developers said having a profitable development would eventually lead to bringing the vacant pub back into use.

The approved scheme, passed unanimously by councillors at Woolwich Town Hall, featured conditions for extensive screening of the site.

LDRS logoTom Bull is the Local Democracy Reporter for Greenwich. The Local Democracy Reporter Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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Council planners recommend plan for six houses on Pickwick beer garden

Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road
The Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road. Photo by Neil Clasper

Greenwich Council planning officers have recommended councillors approve plans to build houses behind the closed Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road – five months after refusing an application to knock down the pub.

Pure Let Greenwich Ltd, an East-Ham based developer, wants to knock down the pub’s function room and build six terraced homes – five 4-bed houses and one 3-bed house – in its place and into the beer garden. Eight car parking spaces would be provided.

The company had tried to knock down the pub itself, but was refused in December after 23 objections. Just four objections were received for the proposal to build behind the pub, known as the Roupell Arms until the 1970s.

A model of the plans, with the original scheme in the corner

A report by planning officers says: “The previous outline application was refused in part due to the demolition of the original public house and its redevelopment with a part 3, part 4 storey mixed use building. The current application would see the existing main public house retained and as such has overcome these previous reasons for refusal.

“On balance, there are no objections to the demolition of the ground floor rear extension. The extension does not form part of the main functions of the pub and is a later addition to the traditional built form. It has little architectural merit and is in a poor state of disrepair. Therefore the loss of the ground floor extension is not considered to have a detrimental impact upon the pub’s viability or role in the local community.”

Councillors on the Greenwich area planning committee will decide on the application next Tuesday.


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Developer plans to demolish Charlton’s Pickwick pub

Pickwicks pub on Woolwich Road
The Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road, seen in August 2014. Photo by Neil Clasper.

As reported by From The Murky Depths blog, The Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road could be set for demolition to make way for 14 flats, a new pub, and a terrace of 6 houses. Originally known as the Roupell Arms, it had operated as a pub and B&B, but has been closed for the past couple of years.

The applicant is a Mr Sunil Purewal of Pure Let Greenwich Ltd. To see the full application, visit and enter reference 18/2976/O.

On the same stretch of road, developers had plans to add flats and a gym to the (now closed) Antigallican pub approved in August 2017, plans to demolish The White Horse were refused on appeal in 2016, and the application to add flats to the Victoria and turn it into a takeaway has gone quiet.

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British Oak pub wins national ‘excellence’ award for its cellar

British Oak,  Blackheath
The British Oak is the local pub for many Charlton residents

The British Oak pub on Old Dover Road has won a national award for the way it keeps its beer.

Landlord Peter Clements won the Excellence In Cellar Standards Award from the firm that owns the pub, Ei Group.

The Oak, which is many Charlton residents’ local pub, still has two separate bars as well as a beer garden and regularly hosts live music and other events.

Clements and his staff were praised for how they look after their beer and glasses, with judges noting “they even consider what type of water is available in their local area to determine how much product is used”.

It beat pubs in Coventry and Stafford to scoop the prize.

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Who wants to ride Charlton’s White Swan into the future?

White Swan, Charlton, 12 December 2013/ Nikki Coates

Let’s be honest, now, the White Swan’s been an ugly duckling of a pub for a long while now. An attempted revamp in 2010 never quite caught on.

For all the attempts to drag it up by its bootstraps, a couple of female friends of mine got grief one summer’s night for the crime of… ordering pints. I’ve not been back since, but I’m told the following manager’s attempt to turn it into a poker hangout didn’t have ace results either.

It was shut for a while, but reopened shortly before Christmas with a new manager in charge while owners Punch Taverns hunt for someone to take it on long-term, albeit at a steep rent of £43,000/ year.

“A rare chance to step into a community pub, located in the heart of Charlton village. The White Swan is a family-friendly establishment that is ideal for hosting events and entertainment. A large patio garden to the rear combined with a commercial kitchen means there is ample opportunity to develop the food trade, particularly in good weather.”

There seems to be a bit of interest in taking on the Swan this time, though – but whether the potential pub bosses have the same ideas as Punch is a curious question. The manager who led the 2010 revamp fancies trying to finish the job, another group fancies trying to recreate the live music success of the Pelton Arms in Greenwich, while there’s also talk of a local brewery showing some interest (small breweries have helped the community buy Nunhead’s Ivy House under new legislation, while the East Wickham Brewery has taken on the long-forgotten Old Loyal Britons in Thames Street, Greenwich).

And then there’s this petition and Facebook page from Kathryn McDowell, who wants to see the Antic group take the pub over. Antic has a fine track record in taking on dowdy pubs and making them shine – particularly the Ravensbourne Arms (ex-George and Dragon) in Lewisham and the now-shut Catford Bridge Tavern (ex-Copperfield), which has been replaced by the Catford Constitutional Club, in a long-shut Conservative club. It’s an interesting company, but has taken nearly a year to do anything with a planned pub in Woolwich’s Equitable House, evidence of a full diary of planned refurbs.

Worth noting, though, that there’s 125 “likes” on Kathryn’s Facebook page – probably more than have ever been in the Swan on a non-matchday for some time.

Do you drink in Charlton and have a preferred pub? Or do you just head straight out of SE7 towards Greenwich or Blackheath if you fancy a tipple? Share your thoughts on Charlton’s pubs – and what do you think can be done to keep the Swan afloat?