White Swan freeholder Mendoza makes third attempt to build housing at back of pub

White Swan

The firm which owns the freehold to the White Swan pub in Charlton Village, property developer Mendoza Ltd, is making a 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.

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 this year.

Now the company is back with a much-reduced scheme to build one three-bedroom house on the currently-disused land which sits between the beer garden and the Torrance Close service road.

White Swan planning application
The new proposal is for just one house, sunk partly below ground level

The house would be 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, documents submitted to Greenwich Council show.

Architects Milan Babic say: “We believe that the new proposal preserves, enhances and
uplifts the character of the site, thereby creating a habitable, functional and aesthetically woven architecture.”

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.

To see more details and comment on the scheme, visit Greenwich Council’s planning website and search for application 17/2043/F.

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The White Swan needs you! (Yes, you)

White Swan
The White Swan: It sells Proper Job beer (which is very nice)

A few words from the team at The White Swan

“Calling all friends in Charlton who wanted to/might like to help us ‘Save The White Swan’…we have had some flyers printed and are asking you all to forward to as many friends as possible please. If you can share via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram we would really appreciate it as I am sure there are many people that don’t know about us.

“What would be really amazing would be for people to do a leaflet drop through neighbours houses… if you are keen/kind enough to do this then please let us know and we can cross your street off the map and not duplicate. Thanks so much!”

White Swan flyer

If you can help, call in and pick up some flyers. Running a pub isn’t cheap, and The Swan’s recently trimmed back its daytime opening hours (it now opens from 3.30pm Monday-Thursday, noon Friday-Sunday) since, frankly, hardly anybody used it then. It’s also due start showing some sport to drum up some new trade – it already showed international events from free-to-air TV, live football and rugby from BT Sport shouldn’t be any more obtrusive than the recent Six Nations coverage.

But we’d suggest that maybe there’s more you can do. How about getting a team together for the weekly quiz (8.30pm Tuesdays) or the monthly music quiz (8.30pm on third Thursday of the month)? Or if there’s an event or get-together you host, why not speak to the pub about having it there? (We have our own idea…)

Three years ago, a local campaign helped make the pub an asset of community value and convinced the current owners to take a punt on the place. And a successful Swan has potential to boost business in The Village as a whole. So pop into the Swan – and think of it as an investment in your neighbourhood.

PS. If you want to start tonight, there’s a tap takeover with Signature Brewery featuring beer and music from “London’s musically influenced breweries” – it starts at 6pm.

White Swan: Plans for new homes behind pub refused

Mendoza homes on White Swan land
Mendoza’s plans for homes behind the White Swan pub

Thanks to the Charlton Society for news that plans to build homes behind the White Swan pub in Charlton Village have been refused by Greenwich Council planners.

The freeholder of the land, property developer Mendoza, had wanted to build two three-bedroom houses on part of the beer garden and vacant land behind the pub, which has seen a remarkable revival since being reopened by the team behind Greenwich’s Pelton Arms in September.

Mendoza’s proposals were refused by the council’s planning department without going to a planning committee. It’s likely they’ll return with an altered plan, as the company specialises in taking pubs and converting some or all of the space into residential accommodation.

The White Swan isn’t the only Charlton pub in developers’ spotlight right now – an application to build 11 flats and a gym around the Antigallican on Woolwich Road is being consulted on by Greenwich Council (reference 15/2272/F). Comments need to be received by the council by Tuesday 8 December.

White Swan freeholder Mendoza plans two houses at back of revived pub

Mendoza homes on White Swan land
The new homes are set back from Torrance Close, overlooking the pub’s beer garden

The company that owns the freehold to revamped Charlton pub the White Swan has applied for planning permission to build two 3-bedroom houses on part of its beer garden.

Isle of Man-based Mendoza Ltd, which makes its money buying pubs and bars and putting residential developments on the sites, plans to build the homes at the back of the garden and on disused land facing onto Torrance Close, the access road at the rear of The Village.

The strikingly-designed homes would be set back from Torrance Close, overlooking the rest of the pub’s garden.

Mendoza’s application comes just seven weeks after the once-troubled pub was reopened by the team behind the Pelton Arms, who have taken on a new lease on the bar and the accommodation upstairs.

Without the rooms upstairs, it was always likely Mendoza would have its eye on the garden and the disused space at the rear. Documents submitted with the planning application state the company was in discussion with Greenwich Council about work on both the rear of the site and the pub’s upstairs floors, including a new roof.

“The applicant believes that as the public house is in the process of being considered to be added to the list of locally listed buildings and is a much beloved part of the current street scene, it is more beneficial to the local architectural and community’s character to allow more time and consideration before a planning submission is made for the White Swan,” a letter from Bermondsey-based architects Milan Babic says. Milan Babic’s website showcases how it converted the upstairs rooms of the former Brixton pub Brady’s – now a branch of Wahaca – into residential accomodation.

While approving the development would hopefully provide some financial security over the pub’s future, the proximity of the homes to the pub’s beer garden, and even the pub itself, is likely to be of concern. Mendoza has gained a reputation for squeezing out pub operators by placing homes in close proximity to their businesses. The homes are set well back from Torrance Close, even though the development has been designated “car free” and the street sees very little traffic and even fewer pedestrians.

The modern design of the buildings – the homes are in the Charlton Village conservation area – is also likely to ruffle feathers. That said, though, they are of a similar design to homes in Blackheath streets such as Langton Way and Heathway, which are also in a conservation area.

Mendoza’s application can be found on Greenwich Council’s planning website by searching for application 15/2968/F. Comments or objections can be left with the council until 24 November – use the links to comment on the council website, or for longer observations, email planningapps[at]royalgreenwich.gov.uk.

The White Swan spreads its wings: Food, a beer festival, Northern Soul and a writers’ night

Since re-opening under new management at the beginning of September Charlton’s White Swan pub has quickly built up a loyal audience and a programme of events that puts longer-established pubs in the area to shame, with live music each weekend, a weekly quiz, and even a free cheeseboard on Sundays.

Food’s now on the menu too…

Pub manager Eren sends us news of their first beer festival:

Our first annual beer festival will take place from October 30th – 1st November. During the course of that weekend:

Friday – Festival kicks off and we have live music from Dennis Greaves (9 Below Zero). We’re aiming to have around 15-20 ales & ciders.

Saturday 31st –  Halloween party: Fancy dress strongly encouraged, pumpkin carving for kids from 1pm, live music from The Duplicates from 9pm. Also the rugby final at 4pm!

Sunday 1st Nov – The Oakland Brothers bring their acoustic sounds at 6pm.

This Friday brings a night of Northern Soul and Rare Groove – The Charlton Champion hopes this will become a regular event:

Swan Northern Soul

It’s not just music, though: local author Paul Breen has sent us details of a regular writers’ evening he’s started at the White Swan, with some personal reflections on the changes to the pub:

These past few weeks have shown me that there is a community in Charlton, and that all those different groups of people who I know also happen to know one another, and enjoy coming together in shared social spaces. I’ve met people there, and invited people there who I’ve never socialised with before in a pub. At times it’s felt like EastEnders, which being from Ireland I thought all London pubs were like anyway. Growing up, watching TV, most of England’s conversations seemed to take place in the pub, andrecently The White Swan has brought me back to memories of those soap operas I don’t watch anymore – places like The Queen Vic, The Rovers Return, and The Woolpack. Mind you though, I’m not putting names to Charlton’s versions of Grant Mitchell, Emily Bishop, Hilda Ogden, Dirty Den, or Bet Lynch.

It’s just good to see this drawing together of a community, and a sense that there’s a place you can go to on the edges of London’s incessant rush, and know somebody who’s there and have a chat.

One of the developments I have been involved in has been the creation of a Writers’ Group who have decided to hold regular gatherings on Monday evenings at half past seven. Once a month we have a theme, and all other Mondays are just going to be drop in sessions. Everyone is welcome to the drop in sessions happening next week and the week after, and then the theme night on Monday 2nd November, where the theme is Comedy & Humour. As I said, feel free to come along to perform, participate, discuss, watch, chat, drink, or whatever. Everyone’s welcome regardless of how or what they write. Some of us are published authors, bloggers or journalists, and some are artists in other areas, and some novices.

You can find the White Swan on Facebook and Twitter.

It’s back! Pelton Arms team reopens Charlton’s White Swan

White Swan, 4 September 2015
The newspapers are down… the pub is open!

Charlton’s worst-kept secret is finally out – the White Swan pub has reopened, with the team behind Greenwich’s Pelton Arms aiming to give the bar a new lease of life.

The pub has had a “soft opening” – so don’t go expecting a full service just yet. But we do know that there’s plenty of beer from Woolwich’s Hop Stuff brewery ready for you…

We popped in on Friday for its test night, and we found Brockley Brewery’s Golden and two beers from Croydon’s Cronx brewery on too. It’s amazing what some new furniture and a little bit of redecoration can do for a pub which hasn’t looked quite right since the old carpets were stripped out many moons ago. We had a great night and we’re looking forward to many more.

It’s the fourth pub to be taken on by Pelton boss Geoff Keen, who also runs Bromley’s Shortlands Tavern and the Red Lion in Godalming, Surrey. The Pelton’s firmly established as one of south-east London’s best-loved boozers and we know he’s done a excellent job with the cosy Shortlands, so we’re looking forward to watching the Swan develop.

As with any new leased pub, there are still a few niggles to be ironed out. But since Geoff has managed to transform the Pelton despite having Punch Taverns as a freeholder, we’re optimistic the Swan can finally fly. It’ll only take off if you visit – so pop in for a pint.

A lot of people have been fretting over the Swan over the past couple of years – probably more than the numbers who actually regularly drank there, truth be told. Hopefully, this tale finally has its happy ending. For everyone who worked on the asset of community value, everyone who took time to look at a community bid, and everyone who spread the word about a great pub going to waste – it’s time for a drink, I reckon. Cheers!