Wednesday 11 March 2015

The Lord Clyde

The past months I've been watching the refurb of the Lord Clyde, a rather grand old Victorian pub which remains as the only sign of its era in a sea of 70s maisonettes and tower blocks and boxy 80s cul-de-sac housing. It's been a bad couple of weeks for Lewisham pubs so it's nice to have something good to report.

The building was saved in 2012 when the council refused an application to demolish it and the planning inspectorate subsequently upheld this decision after the developer appealed. The appeal was dismissed and the council's decision upheld, largely on the grounds of the heritage value of the building.
In its former state
The first application was to demolish the old pub and build a three-storey block of seven two-bed flats, on the grounds that the pub contributed little to the community. A campaign by the pub landlord, and support from the clubs that used the gym on the first floor to train local youngsters in boxing skills, proved otherwise. Although it was saved from demolition, the boxing gym closed its doors in 2013 and the pub eventually closed too when it was put up for sale.

A revised application approved last year gave permission for construction of an extension on the rear of the building for use as a gym, and conversion of the upper floors into one two-bed and two one-bed flats. The conditions of approval not only required the ground floor to be retained as a pub, but also put conditions on the type of replacement windows to be used and the external refurb.

Having seen the building going through the refurb process I was initially quite disturbed when the signs disappeared - not only the ones at ground floor level, but also the pub name on top of the building. Happily they have now been replaced/replicated in identical form - even the painted 'Home of the world-famous Malony's Fight Factory' has reappeared over the side doors.

The brown ceramic tiles on the pub facade have been cleaned/repaired/replaced and now shine in the sunshine like warm chocolate, and the replacement/refurbed windows give the place a really smart appeal that was sadly lacking before. Having seen the damage that has been caused to the tiles on the facade of the former Deptford Arms by Paddy Power, it's good to know that there is another way.

I spend a lot of time scrutinising reports by Lewisham Council's planning department and/or decisions by the planning committee and more often than not, the process does not end in applause, but credit where credit is due. On this occasion - and judged purely on appearance at this stage - the outcome seems to be a win and is a welcome reminder that objections can occasionally have an impact. The council's planning officers seem to have kept on the ball in ensuring that conditions were met, and that the quality of materials was up to scratch.

I used to feel depressed when I passed this pub - its peeling paint and dirty exterior made it look like a slow death was the only possible end. Now I have a renewed optimism that it could have a future.

Whether or not my optimism will be rewarded remains to be seen - although the planning application was originally submitted in the name of Safeland PLC, presumably the owner in April 2014, the building went up for auction in July 2014, and I don't know what the outcome was (if anyone does, please add in the comments).

The guide price was just £350k, hence the addition of three flats is likely to pay back the buyer's investment in no time, but it will take a determined and imaginative landlord to make a success of a pub on this site, especially considering that the rent/lease will be a lot higher than before. But not impossible in my opinion - let's hope there's someone out there who's up for it.


Robin Tudge said...

This is great news. I knew Rory and Gary and the others a bit from going to the gym and they were great fun, so I was troubled to hear of the campaign, glad of their victory, but sad for the ultimate closure of both gym and boozer.
But it's not entirely the end :)

Anonymous said...

It went for £735k at auction

Anonymous said...

Anyone have any news about the Clyde?

Anonymous said...

Not the usual notice of development tied to a lamppost but an out the way
plamning application placed in the Evelyn tennants association notice board. Laast date for objections 20 may 2015. For aonster amount of dwelling & no parking. V ery sad.

Anonymous said...

Have just across this information about The Lord Clyde. The front right hand side corner of the building was attached to my first home, which was pulled down after we left, when I was 4. I lived locally over the years, and when I passed by I saw the outline of our former home on the side wall of the pub. Memories. I am glad the pub has been restored. We need to keep the memories in solid form.

Anonymous said...

Is the spelling of 'Malony' intentional?