Planning inspector throws out scheme to build house by White Swan beer garden

White Swan
Mendoza bought the freehold to the White Swan in March 2015

The firm which owns the freehold to the White Swan pub in Charlton Village, property developer Mendoza Ltd, is has lost its third attempt to build housing on land behind its beer garden.

The Isle of Man-based company, which makes its money from buying pubs and converting at least part of the land to residential use, has had two past applications rejected.

Now a planning inspector has upheld Greenwich Council officers’ decision to throw out the third application, to build one three-bedroom house on the currently-disused land which sits between the beer garden and the Torrance Close service road.

The house would have been partly built below ground level to reduce its impact on the surrounding conservation area, and would have no windows that could open onto the beer garden.

However, planning inspector Gary Deene rejected the scheme, saying “the proposed development would unacceptably harm the character and appearance of the local area”.

White Swan planning application
The rejected proposal was for one house, sunk partly below ground level

There is a glimmer of hope for the developer – the inspector did not wholly reject the idea of building on Torrance Close, 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 plans were first submitted to Greenwich Council in summer 2017. Mendoza bought the pub from previous owner Punch Taverns in March 2015, evicting the then-management three months later. However, it reopened in September 2015 under the management of Greenwich’s Pelton Arms boss Geoff Keen, who is trying to keep it as a viable, community-focused pub. A second bar and function room has now opened on the pub’s upper floor.


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White Swan freeholder Mendoza refused permission for ‘cramped’ house behind pub

White Swan
Mendoza bought the freehold to the White Swan in March 2015

The firm which owns the freehold to the White Swan has had its third attempt to build housing on the site refused by Greenwich Council planners.

Isle of Man-based property developer Mendoza Ltd, which makes its money from buying pubs and converting at least part of the land to residential use, had wanted to build a three-bedroom property on land behind the pub’s beer garden.

A letter sent to the firm’s agent before Christmas said it was rejected because the property’s “scale, bulk, site coverage, contemporary design and cramped appearance… would fail to preserve the character and appearance of the [Charlton Village] Conservation Area”.

Planners also say the scheme broke several London and local planning policies.

The letter also notes that Mendoza did not seek advice from the council before putting the application in, and that it should talk to planners before submitting a new proposal.

White Swan planning application
The rejected proposal was for one house, sunk partly below ground level

The house would have been partly built below ground level to reduce its impact on the surrounding conservation area, and would have had no windows that could open onto the beer garden.

Bermondsey-based architecture firm Milan Babic said in the application: “We believe that the new proposal preserves, enhances and uplifts the character of the site, thereby creating a habitable, functional and aesthetically woven architecture.”

A first attempt, 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.

White Swan beer garden
The proposed house would have sat behind the pub’s beer garden

Attention will now turn to what Mendoza will do next – whether it will appeal, revise its plans once again, or look at the pub itself, which is rented by the team behind Greenwich’s Pelton Arms.

Earlier this year the firm lost a planning appeal against Camden Council’s refusal to allow it to turn the Carpenters Arms in King’s Cross into flats. However, in May it won an appeal against Tower Hamlets refusing it permission to build a hotel around the Duke of Wellington in Spitalfields.

A Roving Folk Club comes to Charlton’s White Swan for 2018

White Swan

Jim’s been in touch to say…

My wife Isobel and I have started a new folk club in Charlton. it’ll be on the first Monday of each month, upstairs at the White Swan in the Village. We had our first evening last week and had a wonderful musical time, attracting singers and musicians with a love of traditional music plus some locals who just came in to listen. It was them that suggested I get in touch with you and we are keen to attract more people. Would you give us a mention?

We certainly can…

The next one will be on New Year’s Day at 8pm, with £2 admission. Feel free to get in touch with Jim and Isobel via the Roving Folk Club Facebook page in the meantime.

(You may know Jim and Isobel from their band Bruise.)

Roving Folk Club poster