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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Pizza takeaway and flat at Charlton’s Victoria pub get council approval

Victoria pub plans
The plan for the Victoria was submitted last August

Plans to convert the crumbling Victoria pub on Woolwich Road into a pizza takeaway with a flat behind it have been approved by Greenwich Council.

The Gillingham-based Zaan Group, a Domino’s Pizza franchisee, was given permission for the conversion by council officers after only one person complained about he proposal. The pub, known for its sloping floor, is locally listed but has been unused for over 20 years, and has been recently damaged by fires.

Earlier proposals to turn the pub, into a takeaway and build four flats behind it were thrown out in 2019 because the new flats would “appear as an incongruous addition which would fail to preserve the character and appearance of the locally listed host building and Thames Barrier and Bowater Road Conservation Area”. Plans for student flats have also been rejected.

But Zaan’s latest plans, which feature a single three-bedroom flat, were given the nod just before Christmas by council officers. As there was only one objection and no local councillors called it in, the scheme did not have to go before a planning committee – so the approval has only just come to light.

Victoria pub interior
Inside the Victoria after the May 2019 fire.

“Given the poor structural condition retention of the building requires creative thought and use. This is an isolated building that does not relate to any existing use in the area. Therefore, new uses are required,” the submission from architects Cook Associates says. The developer warned that the pub would face demolition if it could not be redeveloped.

Zaan has three years to start work on the site, council officers have said. The sole objection pointed out the takeaway’s proximity to local schools, but a report by a council officer states: “The specific intention is not to cater to pupils of nearby schools. In light of this [the] proposed change of use to a takeaway would be unlikely to significantly undermine efforts to combat childhood obesity.”

The Victoria in 2018

The scheme is also the first Charlton Riverside development to get approval – even if it may end up being the smallest with just one home, with thousands more planned for future years.

Seven schemes are in the pipeline:

Greenwich Council also owns significant portions of land on the riverside, and next week its cabinet is due to approve plans to buy more, The town hall is set to buy land on other side of Penhall Road from Leopard Guernsey Anchor, a company involved in the ill-fated Rockwell scheme rejected last year. The purchase price has not been disclosed. The plot is next to land the council already owns.

Another formal council document, the Site Allocation Plan, will also come up before the cabinet next week. This reiterates the council’s plans for housing and employment on the riverside, and gives guidance for developers looking at various plots of land. This includes the Makro site at Anchor & Hope Lane – where it says any development “should accommodate a mix of small and medium sized commercial, retail, leisure and community uses and flexible SME space”, although there is currently no suggestion the the cash and carry retailer is planning to leave the area.


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Pizza developer tries again for takeaway and flat at Charlton’s Victoria pub

Victoria pub plans
The latest plan for the Victoria

Developers have returned with new plans to turn Charlton’s derelict Victoria pub into a pizza takeaway with a three-bedroom flat alongside it.

Proposals to turn the pub, famed for its sloping floor, into a Domino’s Pizza outlet and build four flats behind it were thrown out by Greenwich Council officers last year because the new flats would “appear as an incongruous addition which would fail to preserve the character and appearance of the locally listed host building and Thames Barrier and Bowater Road Conservation Area”.

Previous plans for student flats have also been refused.

Now the Gillingham-based Zaan Group – a Domino’s franchisee – wants to covert the pub into a takeaway and add a smaller extension instead. The pub is locally listed but has been unused for over 20 years, and has been damaged by fires.

“Given the poor structural condition retention of the building requires creative thought and use. This is an isolated building that does not relate to any existing use in the area. Therefore, new uses are required,” a submission from architects Cook Associates says.

Victoria pub plans
No getting away from badly-parked cars

“The A5 [takeaway] use will generate little footfall traffic as most orders will be by phone or online, for delivery by scooter and electric bike,” it adds.

“This proposal brings back into use a locally listed building that has fallen into a poor state of repair and which is rapidly becoming an eyesore. This scheme follows previous planning refusal for the site for student units and a larger extension containing more residential units than the single unit now proposed.

“The extension of the commercial ground floor area to A5 creates a viable and sustainable use which ensures that the original frontage and shell is restored and preserved which is the desire of the local authority. The alternative re-development option available to the applicant for this site remains to serve a Section 80 demolition notice on [Greenwich Council] to demolish the existing public house.”

The new plans have emerged as developers take forward schemes for flats on the sites behind – including the Beaumont Beds warehouse – as part of the major Charlton Riverside development scheme.

Members of the public can see the documents and submit comments on the Greenwich Council website.


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