The Talbot's new management talks

Lest it should get lost amongst all the excitable talk about the World Trade Organisation, we thought we'd reproduce James Heaton's latest comments about plans for The Talbot pub, one of the biggest stories we've been following since the early days of this site.

Here's what James said in an earlier thread about his plans for the pub and his discussions with owners Punch Taverns:

Hello everyone,

Thank you for your comments and to those of you who have emailed me directly. Picking up on a few things here...

Yes it will run 'as is' through the summer.

I will have an idea of dates for works in due course.

The name will be staying and those of you who have been to the mailing list signup page have indeed seen the first preview of the new branding.

The interior will pretty much be 'gutted', although due to the nature in which the buildings have been knocked together, the configuration will stay more-or-less the same.

TVs and fruit machines will by and large disappear. We may keep one screen or a projector just for the purposes of big internationals etc, but we will no longer have Sky Sports and the TV will be on occasionally, not as a rolling backdrop.

To be honest, although we all like to go to the pub to watch the football, TVs don't really work as a full-time fixture in the sort of place we're planning to turn The Talbot into. I hope no one will be too disappointed about this.

I have signed another bit of paper with Punch this morning authorising our solicitors to proceed with the initial arrangements. We expect to be in control of the site, as exists, from 28th March.

I will be giving more details about the longer term plans to brockleynick as soon as the interim tenancy agreement is signed.

Thanks and best wishes, James Heaton.

We're extremely grateful to James for taking the time to talk to Brockley Central readers about his plans and for being so receptive to the comments that appeared in response. It's a very encouraging sign that so many of Brockley's leading businesses are engaging with their customers in this way.

65 comments:

Elmi said...

We live right across from the Talbot and I am quite worried that the regeneration of the pub will mean loads more noise for us, especially on weekends.

Of course it would be nice to have a nice pub that you actually want to visit, but at least the pub is really quiet in the evenings at the moment. I imagine this will change once the pub is refurbished.

Brockley Nick said...

I don't think the pub will be aiming at the bacardi breezer crowd and I can't see how anyone would rather live opposite a semi-derilict pub with a somewhat menacing clientele and management, than live opposite a well-run pub, managed by a team that clearly take their responsibilities to the local community seriously.

And living near the pub, it was always a strong possibility that something like this would happen, surely?

I speak as someone who until recently lived 3 doors up from a lively football pub and never found it to be a problem, even on match days.

Pete said...

They do have live music in the evenings in the Honor Oak and if they are going to do this at the Talbot I suppose it could potentially be a problem for elmi.

Perhaps James could put elmi's mind at rest?

Anonymous said...

Music? The horror! Elmi, what did you expect? What about the rest of the people who live in Brockley and are desperate for a nice local?

Elmi said...

Well I guess I can only wait and see. The reason I am worried about the noise is that we have a small baby who is a very light sleeper and we don't have double-glazing!

And the building works during the summer months will be a bit annoying as well, although at least that will be in the day.

Brockley Nick said...

Elmi, fair enough, I hope it does work out OK for you, but I do believe the new Talbot will be a massive boost to that corner of Brockley and could even encourage some of the other shops nearby to reopen.

Pete said...

"Music? The horror! Elmi, what did you expect? What about the rest of the people who live in Brockley and are desperate for a nice local?"

Good to see that you are capable of empathising with other people.

This blog really does attract some of the kindest people...

Samara said...

Thank you James - I'm really looking forward to trying out the new Talbot. I live on Tyrwhitt too and you have my support.

tyrwhitt michael said...

I've never been described as menacing before, must work on my frown. I always thought we (the regulars) were quite friendly but then I rarely venture into the public bar especially when the football is on when it can get a bit rowdy.

I do remember when the pub used to be busy about 15 years ago and noise wasn't a problem then. I live nearly as close as Elmi so I don't see it being one in the future.

A couple of queries for James

I imagine Food will not be available until after the refurbishment?

Will your scheme need a new planning permission? I supported the previous one as I live close enough to be consulted, although interestingly, I assume through an administrative error, the large house opposite (Durham House) wasn't directly consulted on the proposals. Whoops.

Richard Elliot said...

This is fantastic news. This part of Brockley is desperate need of a good pub.

Brockley Nick said...

I guess one other thing to add on the topic of the pub's revival is that the pub could not continue to operate in its current form. Phyically, the building was crumbling and it was obviously not delivering the kind of return that Punch were looking for. Had it continued to decline, it might well have eventually been sold off to a developer.

Anonymous said...

Great news! I can't wait to start seeing this pub up and running. It'll be the best thing to happen to that end of brockley since...well...ever! I'm sure it will do really well and look forward to having a nice local.

tyrwhitt michael said...

Nick

It's interesting that you say "the pub could not continue to operate in its current form" as my understanding is, that for the next 6 months, it is going to do exactly that.

In the short term it won't effect me then.....

Brockley Nick said...

@TM - yes, I meant longer term. We all know it was falling apart and Punch wanted to start making some money on it. Therefore, status quo would not have been acceptable in the longer term.

Anyway, I'd argue that, although the refit is not due for a while, a change of management is half the battle. I know you like it in there, but it gives a lot of people the willies. Myself included! :)

PaddyOD said...

Good work Mr. Heaton. Looking forward to trying the newly renovated pub!

I only wish that once you are finished refurbing the Talbot and you are looking for your next pub project, you would consider turning the ex-Homeview unit into a little boozerie for those of us who live closer to the Brockley high street end of town :)

tm said...

Nick

Not sure "like" is the right term, tolerate is probably more accurate.

Anyway quiz at the Wickham tonight for a change.

Anonymous said...

The world is divided into people who like a pub quiz and those who see it as an unwelcome interruption. I think they kill the atmosphere and are pretty boring. Something to do with the questions and those who know seem to know the answers.

patrick1971 said...

Thank god for no televisions! They're what can kill a pub IMHO. I know they were thinking of introducing them at the Royal Albert a while ago but fortunately seem to have decided against it.

Pub quizzes: a bit like televisions, they're good if that's what you're going there for, but boring and dominating if that's not what you're going there for. But at least pub quizzes are usually only one night a week, whereas televisions are usually on constantly.

Speaking of pub quizzes, am I just old-fashioned, or does anyone else find it just not quite right the way that so many people just text their friends for answers these days? Not really in the spirit of the thing, IMHO.

Vikki said...

I live in Durham House and haven't been consulted about anything! Ho hum!

Yes, I don't want to live opposite a grotty pub but equally it has the advantage of always being quiet.

On balance a nice local will be brilliant but my idea of a local isn't somewhere packed with braying clapham types who take advantage of late licensing. More a cleaner version of what's there where I can have a nice Sunday roast...

Anonymous said...

The plans sound great, and it will definitely fill a gap in the local market.

As a Young(ish) Fogey, the only other thing that would put me off is loud music that requires you to shout to whoever you are talking to. I'd like to know what the policy on music will be.

All the very best to James with the project.

James Heaton said...

Hello everyone,

My apologies for coming in on this a little late - I have only just come to this particular page!

To pick up on a few things (in no particular order):

Noise - I'm not in a perfect position to speak about this as I don't really know the current situation, but what I can say is that brockley nick is correct that we 'will not be aiming at the bacardi breezer crowd'! We work hard at The Honor Oak to ensure that our operation does not disturb those in the vicinity too much, and indeed during the refurbishment noise was considered such that there are no 'openable' windows now and the door is always kept close during the evenings in a bid to keep any noise firmly inside. Indeed, this is actually a condition of our licence.

The live music at The Honor Oak equally only ever takes place in the separate function room, which has no external doors and windows and therefore leaks little noise. We have a policy of not 'forcing' any sort of entertainment upon those using the main bar areas and this is a policy that we will likely follow through at The Talbot.

The building works, although at an early stage, are mainly planned to be 'constructive' rather than 'destructive' so I do not imagine there will be much noise, and as with all such schemes the council will likely restrict the hours in which work can take place to the daytime.

We will certainly require planning permission for the exterior redecoration. Externally the scheme will be similar to the proposal previously sent to planning - essentially redecoration, installation of new signage and awnings and some landscaping.

Food will indeed not be available until after the refurb. There are no kitchen facilities whatosever at present.

It is correct to say that the options for The Talbot as dictated by the owners of the freehold are either redevelopment or closure. Maintaining the status quo would not be a possibility irrespective of our involvement. Equally in the current climate it is generally not financially viable to make the level of investment required at a pub such as The Talbot without also making changes to the offer in order to see a return on the capital.

Music - I have answered this as best I can on the other page.

Homeview - we are well aware of it as both a specific site and as an area lacking in bars. However we couldn't even think of looking at it for at least another year or 18 months so it will depend on how long it remains empty!

Thanks for all your continuing comments. We hope to meet some of you after we 'move in' on Friday.

Best wishes,

James

Anonymous said...

Great thanks for keeping us update! Really look forward to this pub opening. It will be fantastic - a lovely asset to the area, and long anticipated! Good luck with the move in on Friday and we'll see you in there very soon.

TM aka Tyrwhitt Michael said...

I would just like to say farewll to John and Avril and bar man Steve and welcome to Rob and Jamie James and Rupert.

Can we have some new light bulbs please?

Oh and a regular supply of beer especially bitter for me..

Thanks

PS I won't be able to get in until Monday hope to see you then.

Lady said...

Hi, this is such good news, welcome to James and good luck with the venture.

If you need new bar staff, I'm a newly impoverished student and would love to get involved!

Ps. can I nominate your garden for a Charlie Dimmock makeover? http://www.ronseal.co.uk/eco/beergarden.jsp

Elmi said...

Well having been the one to start this thread with my concerns about the Talbot I can now confirm that my fears have indeed been realised.

The pub has now started playing extremely loud (and awful, in my opinion) music the whole evening with theirs doors and windows wide open - so loud that my 18-month old can't get to sleep.

I find it hard to believe that their license could allow this in a residential area and will most certainly be complaining to the council.

We also have people sitting in front of our house with drinks purchased from the pub talking as loud as they can until the early hours.

I had hoped that I was just being paranoid before the new management took over but I guess not. James Heaton's assurances about the music seems to not have been true.

Anonymous said...

i'm not being snobby but i think it's their current clientele who are perhaps more rowdy than they will be when the pub reopens...i can't see this happening once it's been gastroed!

Anonymous said...

yes, you are being snobby.

Do you think that once it's 'gastroed' people will just sit around drinking Pimms and discussing David Miliband?

I hope not...

spimcat said...

Loud voices braying about David Milliband, while drinking Pimms ?

Anonymous said...

sorry, have I got my New Labour drinks in a muddle?

fabhat said...

Elmi, it must be frustrating for you having noise - but when you moved in, you must have seen that there was a pub there? It's not like it's popped up since you moved...
It's an asset to the whole area if the Talbot becomes/is a good lively pub.

spincat said...

No - was just sympathising with the poor neighbour who will have to put up with it

Anonymous said...

Sounds a bit like those people who move to a house next to a constantly high river and complain when their house gets flooded.

Mara said...

I walked past there around 11:45 last night and didn't notice any loud music.

I'm sorry to hear that you're having noise issues though - I don't doubt that living by a pub you get a bit of noise. Have you tried politely approaching the management if you feel that the noise is unreasonable?

Anonymous said...

I think it's wonderful that a run down decrepit dump (let's be honest) is being improved into a fun pub that people would like to visit.

Elmi, what am I missing about the noise debate? Surely you knew there was a pub there when you bought your house? A friend of mine lived near a pub in Sth Ken and they had a sign up requesting people to leave quietly etc and to respect the residents. I'm sure that could be done with the Talbot too.

James, very best of luck with the new place!

tyrwhitt ali said...

I walked past this afternoon at about 4pm and I have to say the music was pretty loud as I walked past. Doesn't help that the doors are all open in this weather.

Hugh said...

Loved those heels.

Anonymous said...

what a sad virtual letch

Hugh said...

Perhaps Barry George will move to the area. I don't think he bothers with online activity.

Anonymous said...

so you are worse than a letch, an online stalker who is "better" than an actual stalker

Anonymous said...

I think Hugh was joking anon!

TM said...

I suspect the DJ on Saturday was a one off since all it achieved was to drive the saloon bar customers - like me - either into the garden or on to another pub and the public bar customers to
stand in the garden.

I imagine takings were down rather than up and it has clearly alienated one of the locals.
The volume did appear to reduce after someone from No1 came across and I assumed complained?

Pehaps the management would like to comment?

Richard said...

Hopefully a quiet word with the management would do a lot of good. I'm sure they would rather listen to and accomodate residents' concerns than have to deal with an official noise complaint, which would only hinder what will surely be a nice & well-managed pub in the future.

Anonymous said...

price of progress eh and dam anyone who gets in the way of it, i notice there's not that much community concern about a mother with a young child having to put up with loud music late at night

instead we get, 'what did you expect when you moved near a pub' or 'i lived near a pub, it didn't bother me'

Anonymous said...

Damn right too anon. I'm guessing the proximity to the pub meant that she payed less for the house - you can't have your cake AND eat it...

Richard said...

Anon, you have a point, especially as when Elmi moved in the pub was quiet in the evenings.

I think the point is that if you buy a house near a pub there is a good chance there will be noisy evenings. Not to say this the noise is acceptable, but my advice would be to speak to the management before making a complaint to the council.

Pub managers are not all uncaring souls, it could just be it hadn't occurred to them how far the sound had travelled. If a polite conversation doesn't resolve the issue, by all means take the complaint further.

Anonymous said...

I have a young child. Kids sleep through anything. It's far more likely to bother an adult. So although I don't wish to sound unsympathetic I think the baby issue is neither here nor there.

Anonymous said...

"I notice there's not that much community concern about a mother with a young child having to put up with loud music late at night."

What an emotive comment! Anon, it's hard to get cross about it without knowing some facts:

Is this an ongoing thing? Has it happened every weekend? If not, than how is this different than a neighbour having an occasional party?

If this has been an ongoing noise issue has Elmi constructively approached the management to get it resolved?

Then finally, all things being the same if the noise is indeed unreasonable then what does it matter if it's a mother with a baby that it affects? I feel bad for anyone who is detrimentally impacted by noise - but let's face it, when you live in London you do have to be a bit forgiving; there will always be some bit of noise.

And on the topic of babies - I'd be pretty sure to bet that the baby makes a bit of noise too! :)

Pete said...

I'm siding with Elmi on this, why should she put up with loud music all day and night? When she moved to the area the pub was quiet and has presumably been quiet until now. She may even have checked that this was the case.

I also think it is unlikely that she is the only person in the street who is suffering as a result of this. I would go as far as saying that loud music has no place in pubs in residential streets.

Anonymous said...

look the guy rob who's manning the fort there til it gets done up is probably depressed and sick of working in a run down, dark hole for the last few months and got some mates round for the first snifter of a party that the pub has seen in ages! leave it out - a man's gotta have some enjoyment! it's not like this is a nightly occurence so get a life and get over it.

Anonymous said...

I went past the pub on Saturday at about 9pm and it wasn't just loud it was ludicrously loud. Could hear the noise from about 10 houses away. While I haven't heard this level of noise from the Talbot before I can really understand why people would complain about this. I really think it's unacceptable with the doors standing open the whole time in a resedential area. Plus the music was pretty crap as well.

Anonymous said...

I live in a local pub. Imagine my dissapointment when some woman down the road got up the duff and now all I hear, day and night, is her screaming kid.

Headhunter said...

Sounds ridiculous. Just because you live near a pub why should you have to put up with music booming across the street? Of course living near a pub you may expect noise from people passing in and out, perhaps some drunken conversations from people outside having a ciggie and a bit of noise at chucking out time, but I have to say, there's nothing worse than constant, loud, booming, second hand music when you just want a quiet moment at home. Especially when the music is copmplete crap. I sympathise, I would complain to the council, if the landlord is too stupid or insensitive to realise the pub's in a residential area then he's not worth approaching direct.

Pete said...

Yes very amusing, babies are all very noisy and shouldn't exist. Perhaps aresholes who carry on about "getting a life" when people are having the quality of their lives eroded by things which they have no control over should get a grip and have some empathy for other people.

If poor old Rob is so depressed perhaps he should get another job rather than upsetting the local residents

Anonymous said...

for all the people who moved to brockley and now moan about, bail hostels, betting shops, speedicars, local youths, prostitutes, yellow crime signs, bad buses etc... did you not realise that was the case when you moved there, what gives you the right to moan about it now........

i'm sure this logic (which is exactly the same as that being aimed at elmi) will be met with a different response though

Headhunter said...

Quite a few of those things you have picked out there (yellow signs, betting shop, Speedicars sign) were not there when many of us moved in. In any case, just because they were there when we moved in, why does this preclude us from wanting better for the area we live in? Why shouldn't we be allowed to campaign for their removal?

fabhat said...

I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, but if you moved to an up and coming are with all that entails, with a pub opposite that looks a bit run down, but in a prime spot, you might expect it to change at some point soon. It sounds like the sound levels are excessive from what everyone has said - but Elmi going straight to the council, rather than approaching the pub management first also seemed a bit heavy handed. Hopefully, the pub will respond sensibly to a request from local residents, and keep the noise levels down, and everyone will be happy!

Anonymous said...

" In any case, just because they were there when we moved in, why does this preclude us from wanting better for the area we live in? Why shouldn't we be allowed to campaign for their removal?"

that is exactly the point i was making (i think you didn't get the intended irony), why should elmi not be allowed to speak out, and hope to get something done, about this - some people on here seem to think that because she decided to move there she should now have to put up with whatever problems arise from it

Anonymous said...

"Quite a few of those things you have picked out there (yellow signs, betting shop, Speedicars sign) were not there when many of us moved in"

just as the noisy pub wasn't there when elmi moved in

Headhunter said...

"i think you didn't get the intended irony"

Oh... Didn't read properly

Anonymous said...

no problem (i thought you were maybe american)

Headhunter said...

Nope! Not American. I'm from Luton....

Anonymous said...

Let's be really clear about something here: there are those of us who have no issue with the pub who ALSO have no issue with the betting shop/signs/conservation area signage policy adherance/the lack of organic fair trade seed shops, etc... - we are not one and the same!

Pete said...

Well perhaps if you could post under some sort of name we might actually be able to know where you are coming from. When you post as anonymous we have no idea what your views on different subjects are.

Anonymous said...

I Think If you move opposite a pub you would expect some noise,Or Is It just me ????

NAT said...

Quite. And don't forget the two courses for a tenner there on Monday evenings. Started out as real value but has been better every time Ms. NAT and I have gone.

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