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Hmm.... I wonder what's in store for this now... It'll take quite some investment to bring it back to use, will prob have to be flats for anyone to take any interest in actually putting that sort of money into it....
I spoke to an official looking man (well, he was wearing a suit which distinguished him from every other person on Lewisham Way) outside it the other day while they had a crane attending to the roof. He was associated with the firm that owns the building. He told me a few things: the original plan is still going ahead - flats upstairs and a coffee shop downstairs. It should all be done by the end of the year. Oh, and the fire was started by a marijuana farm on the top floor - an electrical fire caused by the lights for the plants. Not quite sure how that squares with other reports that the refurbishment was almost complete when it started so I'm taking that with a pinch of salt.
There is currently a planning application to convert the first floor to flats, and retain just the ground floor as a coffee shop. They are also proposing two new houses in the back yard. BrocSoc discussed this last night. We will be objecting to the change of use of the first floor as we think it will jeopardise the chance of the pub ever being returned to pub use.This is one of the best located pubs in the area. The developer should sell to someone who has the intention of running it as a pub.
If residents really wanted another pub here then why did hardly anyone visit it in its brief reincarnation as the Malt and Hops last year? Every time I walked past it was EMPTY.And when it was Albertines it caused years of misery for anyone living nearby as some reckless councillors on Lewisham Council's licensing committee agreed to give it a 3am licence.People are suddenly talking on these forum threads as if it was a much-loved local boozer that was a vital community focal point. It certainly wasn't in the years it was Albertines when there was constant late-night noise, associated anti-social behaviour and police incidents - with the drugs factory and inferno the latest calamities.And if Brockley Society members check with Lewisham Council they will discover that any new pub on the premises will inherit the 3am licence just like the Malt & Hops did last year.I wouldn't trust any new landlord on the site not to take advantage of these late hours.If it is true Brockley Society members are championing the retention of this site as a pub, they need to review the facts carefully because they could end up doing the community they are meant to be supporting a major disservice.It is much more important to ensure what replaces it complements the historic building and benefits the locals. And so far a coffee shop is the best idea.
People want a GOOD pub. The Malt & Hops never opened and Albertines was deeply shady. I don't think anyone has suggested that its last incarnation was successful, they want it to be taken on by a responsible landlord. There's very little difference between your average coffee shop and your average pub these days anyway.
The Malt & Hops did open for a few weeks and there were even a handful Friday and Saturday nights when it had security on the doors.I didn't have a problem with it as it didn't utilize the full 3am licence and didn't stay open later than 1am.Yes, it would be great to have a good well-run boozer there with normal opening times - like The Talbot.But it is very hard for nearby residents to share your optimism as the bad memories of Albertines remain fresh.Making that place economically viable as a pub will be a challenge. And anyone who takes it on will have the fallback of that 3am licence to bring in more money. That sends a shiver down my spine.
The basis for my optimism is the fact that countless new pubs and bars have opened or re-opened nearby in the last five years or so and all of them have been well-run: The Orchard, The Talbot, the LDN Beer Dispensary, The New Cross House, The Ravensbourne, The LP Bar, etc. I can't think of any that have opened in the same period which should give anyone grounds for pessimism, can you?Dodgy pubs are relics of the past.
Yes, those are all good pubs/bars and the equivalent of any of them would work well on the Albertine's site - provided there were normal opening times.It will need a savvy landlord/businessman with deep pockets to give it a go.It will be interesting to see if anyone approaches the owner with a worthwhile proposition to sway them from their coffee shop plan.I'll be monitoring developments closely.
1. I don't think they have much of a "coffee shop plan" - I'm sure they are just focused on the flats and would happily leave the lower floor empty, if it helped them shift the flats. 2. I'm not too fussed whether it becomes a cafe, rather than a pub - there's often little difference between the two. Pubs sell a lot of coffee and a lot of cafes dabble in booze (eg: the Brockley Mess). It would be nice if it stayed a pub, because there are relatively few "traditional pubs" around, but so long as it's brought back into use, I'll be happy3. The real issue is the proposed loss of amenity - the upper floor. We should not allow developers to reduce the amount of space given over to alternative uses. As people have said, the loss of the upper floor would not only be a blow, it might make it harder to open anything on the ground floor.
We live in a converted flat above a pub and in our opinion it's an excellent use of space. The revenue from the development has allowed the freeholders to rent the pub out at a commercial rate without the landlord being tied in to a brewery. It has also allowed a pub company to run the pub under management without having the landlord/manager living on site. I have found over the years that having the above living on site often leads to problems with lock-ins etc.The pub below us is really well run with a great team working alongside the manager. The upper parts of the building are kept in a good state of repair as it is a condition of our lease to pay a percentage of the maintenance costs. The pub is under the same obligation as they have a lease also. The freeholders have done similar developments over other pubs in London - Eight over Eight on the Kings Road being a prime example.The other benefit is, it provides much needed decent residential space. We have found we have been able to get more for our money per square foot than we could normally in the area as there are perceived disadvantages of buying above a commercial premises. Be warned though, many lenders will not lend on property above pubs - especially if they have a commercial kitchen. I found the loan to value has to be low in order to secure the funding.
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