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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Plans to demolish the Pickwick pub for ‘poor quality’ housing thrown out

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

Planning officers at Greenwich Council have refused permission for the Pickwick pub on Woolwich Road to be demolished.

An East Ham-based developer, Pure Let Greenwich Ltd, had applied to knock down the building and build 14 serviced apartments, six terraced homes and a replacement pub on the site.

But officers said the plan would “result in the loss of an existing pub that has a community role in the borough” and that Pure Let Greenwich had not submitted adequate evidence that it was no longer economically viable.

They called its planned replacement “a poor quality building” and added: “The existing building is considered to be a landmark building on Woolwich Road which makes a positive contribution to the surrounding area in general.

“Its demolition is therefore considered to be inappropriate and would lead to less than substantial harm, namely to the character and appearance of Woolwich Road. The proposed building by reason of its height, scale and appearance is unduly dominant and inappropriate within the street and fails therefore to act as a suitably high quality replacement for the existing public house. The poor quality replacement building coupled with the limited public benefits do not outweigh the harm.”

Plans to build six terraced homes on the site of the beer garden were “an inappropriate form of backland development that would be out of keeping and detrimental to the character of the surrounding area”, intruding on neighbours in Woolwich Road and Dupree Road, the officers added.

Only one letter of support was sent for the plan, with 23 objections submitted to the council after a campaign led by a neighbour. (Read the planners’ full verdict here.)

The pub, known as the Roupell Arms until the 1970s, has been closed for the past two years.

(Thanks to Becky Holmes for letting us know.)


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