Flat proposals will ‘kill all business’ at music pub

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Licensees’ objections: Patrick and Joseph Ryan say their business is under threat from their landlord’s accommodation plans (image: Dr Neil Clifton, Geograph)
Licensees’ objections: Patrick and Joseph Ryan say their business is under threat from their landlord’s accommodation plans (image: Dr Neil Clifton, Geograph)

Related tags: London

Plans to build flats above a pub will make it ‘unviable’ to trade, according to the pair of brothers operating the site.

Wellington Pub Company submitted a planning application to convert the upper floor of the White Hart pub in New Cross, London, into flats.

An assessment from the Environment Agency recommended sound insulation be installed, opening hours be restricted, and the prevention of live amplified music.

These conditions would mean an end to the pub’s unique offering to its community, according to licensees Patrick and Joseph Ryan.

The brothers have organised a campaign against the conversion, including an online petition and a special beer to promote the cause.

The pub is known for its craft beer and live music offering
The pub is known for its craft beer and live music offering

Valuable to community

Operator Joseph Ryan told The Morning Advertiser​: “There is a different offering that we are bringing compared to the other local pubs in the area, with the amount of pubs closing down now, you know, it’s an asset to the community.

“We do jazz on Sundays, we do traditional Irish music twice a week and, at weekends, we have late-night DJs with all sorts of styles of music ranging from R’n’B to grime and techno and all sorts.”

The plans would “kill all business”, Ryan added: “We get a lot of business from our live music and it would make it unviable for us I would say, to trade, if they restrict the hours and the license to those conditions.”

It was stated that the pub would need to apply “a different business model” and run a lock-up operation instead, at council meeting hosted for the community to discuss their concerns. 

Council officials also confirmed that should the proposed model fail, planning permission would be required in order to change the use of the pub. 

Joseph said he was concerned the 800-site strong company may try to convert other pubs in its freehold portfolio “wherever it is financially viable for them to do it,” when their leases ran out. 

Rallying support

He said: “It's obviously going to hurt a lot of other pub owners.”

Wellington Pub Company was contacted for comment but had not responded at the time of publication.

More than 300 comments arguing that the pub’s live music offering be protected have been left on the Lewisham Council webpage detailing the planning application.

Around 3,200 people had signed an online petition​ to maintain the site as “a friendly family atmosphere in the day with a vibrant music venue at night”, at the time of writing. 

Related topics: Property law

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