White Swan freeholder plans to shrink beer garden for new housebuilding plan

The road to the house’s bin store would run through this outbuilding and the beer garden behind

The company that owns the freehold to the White Swan pub has made its fourth application to build on land behind the pub’s beer garden – taking a strip off the pub’s beer garden in doing so.

Isle of Man-based Mendoza Ltd, which makes money through buying pubs and turning part of the land into housing, again wants to build a three-bedroom house on land behind the pub, although with a new design that takes inspiration from the Swan’s neighbour, The Bugle Horn. The plan eight months after a planning inspector threw out its last attempt.

In an application submitted to Greenwich Council, it says that planning officers are now supportive of the scheme, which would see the house face the Torrance Close service road behind The Village.

This access route would be extended to the new house

However, the new plan involves using the yard at the side of the pub – and part of the beer garden – as an access route so council bin lorries can collect refuse from the new house by driving in from The Village. Plans submitted by Mendoza show the road running through an outbuilding and the east side of the beer garden. Greenwich Council had told the developer that its bin lorries were too big to use Torrance Close.

The beer garden will be used on Sunday for a Charlton and Woolwich Free Film Festival screening of Life of Brian.

While Torrance Close had been seen as unsuitable for new homes by many, the planning inspector who dealt with the last application did not agree, 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 access route to the bin store can be seen on maps submitted with the planning application

The developer says the design of the home is informed by “a visual analysis of the area”, citing the Bugle Horn and Charlton Assembly Rooms. “The immediate site context is interspersed with Victorian outhouses, chimneys, single and gable- pitched roofs, brick ornamentation, linear facades and window surrounds,” it says. “There is a sense of establishment with most buildings with specular geometries added to address function and enhance the parent form.”

Mendoza render of new White Swan home
How Mendoza says the new home would look

Mendoza bought the pub from previous owner Punch Taverns in March 2015, evicting the then-management three months later. A first attempt at development, 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. The third attempt, for one three-bedroom house, was rejected by council planners in December 2017 and again by a planning inspector in January. The pub was declared an asset of community value in March 2014, although this has now lapsed.

It is four years this month since the once-tatty pub was taken over by Geoff Keen, owner of Greenwich’s Pelton Arms. It recently launched a new menu on Tuesdays to Sundays, with a vegan pop-up, Rocket, in place on Monday evenings.

Plans can be seen on Greenwich Council’s planning website, reference 19/2600/F. Comments should be sent to the council by 2 October.


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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.