The Walpole to become a hotel [UPDATED]

New Cross Road pub The Walpole is closed - seemingly permanently - and will be converted in to a 60-bed hotel. The landlord thought he'd fought-off the threat of conversion but the doors are now locked and the former owners breezily admit they cashed in - AG&G say:

New Cross takes its name from a coaching inn that once provided accommodation for weary travellers, so it’s entirely appropriate that the site of the Walpole pub in New Cross Road is now set to become a 60-bed hotel – the only one in the SE14 postcode.

It was sold off a guide price of £2.25 million by AG&G’s Anthony Alder, to a Middle Eastern investment company.

The pub is an attractive, flat-fronted Victorian building that comes with a beer garden, letting rooms and two neighbouring shops but it was sold with planning permission for a new hotel.

“There’s such strong demand for large plots in central London and it’s close to the terminus of the East London line, near up-and-coming Stratford and with that precious permission, so the potential was clear,” says Anthony.

The pub had a slightly chaotic recent history but was nonetheless a decent alternative to the Amersham Arms  or the Marquis of Granby.

Thanks to those on the New Cross forum who highlighted the story.


UPDATE: Courtesy of BC readers, here are the before (top) and after (bottom) elevations from the planning documents for the proposed hotel:

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Does this mean it's going to be demolished?!

mb said...

£2.25m? Kerching!

Ben H said...

Could be a nice boost to an otherwise shoddy high street

mp said...

this is bad. the pub was attractive and had potentials to become a nice venue.

Meg said...

How monumentally depressing, this used to be a great pub, and could of been again. Instead a bunch of Arabs have bought it to demolish. Probably get something as attractive as the Novotel in Greenwich. Why is this being allowed? It's a Victorian high street, and apart from damage by the Luftwaffe hasn't suffered the fate of other sixties 'improvements'. Scandalous.

Anonymous said...

Meg, no need to be so judgemental, berderline racist with your "bunch of arabs" comment. Why not have a go at lewisham council for agreeing to give planning permission for this to happen in the first place? I don't want it turned into an ugly hotel either but they might surprise us and turn into something cool. It would be good to find out from Lewisham council what their plans are for the place and make sure they keep the frontage as it was when originally built.

Ben H said...

It's Arab money that's keeping the building industry afloat.

Danja said...

It's this development:
http://transpont.blogspot.co.uk/2008/11/application-has-been-made-to-lewisham.html

AliAliAfro said...

No need to diss the investors, wherever they come from - we'd be in a bad way if people stopped investing in London leaving the existing buildings to slowly rot. As other have pointed out developers come up with schemes (which you may or may not support) and the planners provide the thumbs up or down. Whilst I disagree with plenty of these decisions it is only fair to acknowledge that the planners have a difficult job to do to strike a balance between conservation, regeration and 'sutainability' in its various forms.

I'll reserve judgement until I see what the proposals are... Anyone got a link to the planning permission docs?

On the one hand it was (is) a nice old building and could have been a great venue... but on the other hand NewCross has always been a bit gritty/grotty and a hotel and its visitors might kick-start a bit of regeneration and/or tidying up which could be a good thing..

AliAliAfro said...

Excellent mind reading Danja

UGH said...

After seeing the proposals I'm somewhat stunned to think that anyone would think that this is a good idea. It will not 'regenerate the area'. It's an ugly ugly building that's replacing a fairly charming 130 year old building with if I remember rightly a nice interior with original tiling. I was about to look at registering my disgust with the council only to see the consultation period ended 3 years ago! I didn't hear about this at all!

One of the lessons of the Secret History of our Streets series which was discussed at some length on hear is that old buildings give an area it's personality and are much more likely to drive regeneration than demolition and replacement with something that looks hideous now, let alone in 100 years. The problem with New Cross is the A2, this isn't going to be solved by levelling the place and putting up things like this.

Anonymous said...

Surely that scuzzy rotting row owned by Goldsmiths would be perfect for this.....

Anonymous said...

UGH,

Firstly the A2 isn't going anyway and secondly how much more time does New Cross need to sort itself out. It's been a shit hole for decades.

More development and capital will follow and that can only be a good thing, there are still plenty of old buildings about.

Danja said...

The "scuzzy rotting row" is much more interesting than the Walpole and its neighbours.

It is more of a shame it isn't replacing the really nasty block which Kismet is in (but at least that ensures that Kismet continues).

UGH said...

@ anon 12.48

Unlike you I don't actually regard New Cross as a shithole, there's some great pubs and a nice student vibe about the place. The point is it's never going to be Putney because of the A2, and so you have to look after the good things already there. Just because there are plenty of 'old buildings' about doesn't mean you should start demolishing random ones and replacing them with hideous new builds which will make the place look worse. I'm all for investment as long as it's sustainable. I can't see how putting a low budget hotel here will help the area, as all the tourists will head straight up town.

Anonymous said...

I will be heartbroken if they lose those beautiful original tiles. It has been a really great pub over the years, such a shame to lose it to something dull and pretty unnecessary. Where is this shortage of hotel rooms in the area of which they speak? Haven't a travelodge and premier inn just opened down the road at Deptford Bridge??

Anonymous said...

What a waste of a perfectly nice Victorian building. It saddens me to think of it being demolished and replaced with something pretty bland...

Nowt against the prospect of a hotel or modern architecture, it just seems a shame to sacrifice a handsome historic building (and pub) for the purpose...

AliAliAfro said...

Would of course be prefarable to keep the building and I've got to say that the new design is pretty bland (to say the least)... but it could be worse.

Unless the planners insist on a pastiche your going to get modern, and non offensive bland modern beats day-glow edgy modern or 'little chef plastic tat' modern.

'Multi-palette' brickwork, zinc cladding and bronze signage certainly trumps those hedious cheap cladding panels that are used everywhere these days.

Heres the link to the planning docs. Elevations are top of the list.

http://acolnet.lewisham.gov.uk/LEWIS-XSLPagesDC/acolnetcgi.exe?ACTION=UNWRAP&RIPNAME=Root.PgeDocs&TheSystemkey=55163

Anonymous said...

It looks like a block of social housing.

The designers clearly took their inspiration from the block of flats to its right rather than the existing buildings or the ones to the left.

Mind thed new owner doesn't have to demolish it just because there a planning approval or build it to the design approved.

Anonymous said...

Pluses - investment in the area, potentially a decent new restaurant (certainly something that New Cross is not over blessed with, unlike pubs)

Minuses - loss of an attractive building and a potentially decent pub

I don't think this is a right or wrong answer on this one, but I would lean slightly towards development. Hopefully, the final designs look a bit more impressive.

Anonymous said...

Ambivent about the hotel but name me a hotel that has a decent restaurant? Mediocre hotels usually have appalling overpriced food. I wouldn't put that in the "advantages" column.

Anonymous said...

Part of the planning approval...

The owner will pay the council the costs incuured employing a Monitoring Officer.

The council will recieve a Employment and Training contribution.

The developer will pay the Council a Promotion of Tourism contribution.

The council will be paid a contribution towards Local Environment improvements.

Provide a Cycle Hire Scheme for at least 5 years.

Anonymous said...

Malmaison have great restaurants, and are severely underrepresented in SE London... am I being over-optimistic do you think...?

Anonymous said...

I do think that victorian pubs convered into flats are actually more depressing than just knocking them down, as its a constant reminder of what you are missing.

Anonymous said...

Student vibe yes but very unattractive to non students and empty during the holidays.

Everyone I knew at Goldsmiths left after they graduated moving to Camberwell, Dulwich, Brockley, Deptford etc, all much more interesting than New Cross. The less said about the other end near Barclays and the White Hart the better.

More injections of filthy oil money needed!

Anonymous said...

Brockley and deptford? Miles away then.

Tamsin said...

If somebody has pictures I would love to see the internal tiles.

Given the amount of space at the back a pity they can't keep the front and the pub bit as the hotel bar and and restaurant and build out shoe-box style behind with their hotel rooms. Keep everyone happy.

BTW - there are other options for staying in SE14 - a classy B&B on Pepys Road and the White Hart (of pole-dancing fame) offers rooms...

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the restaurant will be a Nandos or something.

Ethical Chicken said...

Aaaargh.....

Anonymous said...

I too would welcome more traditionalist, honest chicken fare.

Robert said...

Tamsin.
Photos of the Walpole tiles, curtosy of someone on flickr!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/55935853@N00/7017532667/

danja said...

For those in need of more cheap chicken options, "Nondos" has been "opening soon" at the White Hart Hotel for a while.

mungoff said...

Nandos would be tasty, looks like honest fare is coming back to New Cross.

Pesto and fennel you have been warned.

I'm off for the Paul McCartney special at the chippie.

Anonymous said...

?! Like, Nando's has NAPKINS & EVERYTHING!
Is the Honest Food Troll finally coming clean & admitting to a hankering for establishmenrs where the chairs aren't bolted to the floor?

Danja said...

Not Nandos but Nondos

Anonymous said...

From what I can see this is just wanton vandalism. The council and developers should be ashamed.

Am I naive? said...

Cheap chicken Nondos, coming soon, at the White Hart... Is this a euphemism....?

Lee said...

A step backwards. Surely this wont get through planning? It's amazing inside with beautiful tiles, I'm surprised it's not locally listed.

Tamsin said...

Thank's Robert - they're amazing.

Too late I think, Lee. Permission was granted two years ago. Not in a conservation area, no local cohort of resident busy-bodies to ring alarm bells and contact the Victorian Society etc. Demolition agreed by Councillors who had probably never seen the place and were dealing with a dozen other applications on the same evening.

Anonymous said...

Lewisham Council and the mayor are amazing. I am lucky to live in such a safe and well run borough.

We definitely get value for money.

Anonymous said...

Think of the tiles!!

did anyone to to the Walpole anyway?

Anonymous said...

usual lewishm crap!

Robert said...

I've drunk at the Walcott many times.
It was always a good option for watching football, and I stumbled in to murder a tune or two at Karaoke on one memerable night.

I'll be sad to see it go.

I think the buck has to stop here though now - with regards to pubs being demolished, or changing use. I think Lewisham realise this - though it is too late for:

The Crystal Palace Tavern
The Maypole
The Crown & Sceptre
Lord Wolsely
Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Alfred

Not to mention the many pubs lost in Deptford around the High Street.

NAT said...

And 'The Oak' and 'The Angel', late of Loampit Vale, and the one next to Lewisham Station that had an onion dome.

Tamsin said...

Was that the Mid Kent? Used to go there quite a bit way back in the 1980s - quiet and empty and you could sit down. Then it changed hands and became noisy and full - and obviously much more successful, getting along nicely without our custom which it had driven away. The the DLR happened.

NAT said...

Yes, Tamsin, Mid Kent sounds right. I remember it as a quiet place from the eighties as well.It had a 'point' like the prow of a ship and this made for a great reducing table arrangement in that corner.

Nothing about it on 'Lost pubs of London' though.

Robert said...

The Mid Kent Tavern was an interesting looking building - though I can't say I ever remember drinking in there.

http://www.deadpubssociety.org.uk/index.php/File:Mid_kent.JPG

NAT said...

Thanks for the picture link Robert, yes it was a bit of an eye catcher wasn't it.

The one that disappeared from history was The Angel which, because it was stepped back from the street a foot or so doesn't show in any photographs up or down Loampit Vale. Ideal Homes has a great early C19th painting of it as the coach house it was with giant horses and tiny stick lads and an unfeasable front door.

Tamsin said...

Ah, nostalgia-fest. "The train now standing at Platform [whatever] is the Mid Kent Line to Hayes, calling at Waterloo East, London Bridge, St. John's [one of the few that did] New Cross, Lewisham ... Eden Park, West Wickham and Hayes." Woddside and Addiscombe were in there too somewhere, but I think as a branch line that you had to change to get onto.

Fun having a pub named after a railway line...

And just around the corner there was the Royal Oak - with (as I've mentioned before) the charming sounding inscription "mild, stout Ale-Porter", such a nice old codger.

When living up by Hilly Fields I highly amused by brother by giving directions from Lewisham Station based totally on pubs - right at the Mid Kent Tavern along the main road then left at the Royal Oak...

Transpontine said...

I have had my own say on this at Transpontine, but a couple of quick points:

- it's not too late to apply to have the building listed.
- the new owners may have no intention of building a hotel. It is the land with planning permission that has value, as having planning permission sets a precedent for getting permission for other developments.

Robert said...

Transportine.
True, but the land only has inherent extra value if the mass of the building were to increase, and the only way of doing that is by demolition and reconstruction. Nobody rebuilds in London, unless they build it larger.

To be honest - I wouldn't object to losing these three buildings, if the proposed replacement was a high quality design, and it retained a bar/restaurant that was open to the public. Having said that - the idea of retaining the pub facade and interior, and designing around it might also result in something interesting.

Brockley Nick said...

@Robert - I'd agree. Don't see why a hotel can't also accommodate a decent bar / restaurant and retain the blessed tiles in the process. That would seem like an excellent outcome.

Transpontine, what makes you so sure they don't plan to build a hotel?

Transpontine said...

I'm not sure that they don't plan to build a hotel, but equally there is no firm evidence that they do intend to.

The buyers could just have snapped up the site on a speculative basis, calculating that in the long term its value will increase and that it has more value than equivalent sites because of having planning permission.

Doesn't mean they will re-open the pub though. They could for instance start the process by demolishing existing buildings. Then leave the site empty for years and submit a new planning application for something completely different.

Tamsin said...

Listing the building still possible...

I don't check out Transpontine as regularly as BC, and if other people are the same you might have missed this exchange which holds out some hope of action people can take.

"mp said:
this pub, for the way it looks, should be listed. there is anything we can do about it?

30 August 2012 11:19
Transpontine said...
Anybody can make a recommendation to English Heritage for listing. Details here: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/professional/protection/process/online-application-form/

31 August 2012"

Tamsin said...

Actually, I see that Transpontine had also posted here.

Can't realistically help very much at present but if anyone does think of applying for listing I will rootle out the book on Lewisham Pubs that I mentioned on SECentral to boost the reference section and add a little bit of weight to the application.

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jan24 said...

I was shocked to read this.  I'm all for investment and don't mind the idea of a trendy hotel (though I hardly think they'll get the custom).  But it has to retain the existing frontage and pub interior.  The new design is downright awful.

If anyone knows how we can stop it, I'm very happy to help.  (I have emailed the planning department, but I'm not optimistic that will achieve anything on its own...)

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