South London pub campaigners apply for asset of community value status

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

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Hands off our pub: protestors claim there are no facilities left for socialising in St Helier
Hands off our pub: protestors claim there are no facilities left for socialising in St Helier
Campaigners who are fighting to save a south London pub closed for three years have applied for it to be listed as an asset of community value (ACV).

The St Helier Pub Group (SHPG) made the application to list the Morden Tavern, in Morden as an ACV in an attempt to prevent the property being developed into flats and shops.

SHPG wants to establish a community co-operative on the site and, if the move is accepted, bid for the leasehold in the future.

According to campaign chair David Smith, Merton Borough Council sold the freehold of the former Enterprise Inns pub to Reef Estates. The property developer was then refused planning permission by the council, a decision subsequently overturned by the planning inspector.

Smith said: "We think our application will get council support. Merton Council leader Stephen Alambritis has already expressed disappointment at the decision of the planning inspector.

"There were also 1,500 objections from local residents to the planning application — unfortunately not considered significant enough to affect the planning inspector’s decision."

Smith, who lives next to the pub, said the Morden Tavern was the last remaining of three pubs built for the St Helier housing estate, and locals now had nowhere left to socialise.

"It was short-sighted of the council to sell the property to the developer, when ultimately it’s the council that has to pick up the shortfall in social provision. There isn’t even a community centre in this estate any more."

"We have a business plan ready to make a bid on the lease or the freehold, should the opportunity arise."

Last week, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Planning Nick Boles said that pubs account for 67 of the 360 ACVs listed to date. ACVs were created under the 2011 Localism Act.

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