Catford Bridge Tavern - Death and Rebirth

There were three men came out of the west, their fortunes for to try 
And these three men made a solemn vow John Barleycorn must die 
They've ploughed, they've sown, they've harrowed him in Threw clods upon his head 
And these three men made a solemn vow John Barleycorn was dead 
They've let him lie for a very long time, 'til the rains from heaven did fall 
And little Sir John sprung up his head and so amazed them all
John Barleycorn, Traffic

The Catford Bridge Tavern has been forced to close, but hopes to make a swift return (for the background, click here). Manager Richard explains:

Punch Taverns, who were leaseholders and with whom we had a tenancy at will, served us notice and took the freeholder's offer to end the lease. Punch have been good to us - they tried to assign the lease to us, tried to sub-let to us, both were blocked by freeholder. So we emptied and left the building today.

The freeholder has agreed a deal with a national retailer to take over the space, but the retailer was unaware of the Article 4 Direction put in place by Lewisham Council. Article 4 Direction essentially makes a supermarket impossible. So we're hopeful of either getting a sub-lease from the retailer, or a lease from freeholder. Either way, we're confident we have a good chance - we could re-open soon, all being well!


M said...

Fingers crossed.
Nice deal by the freeholder there btw - selling the site to a supermarket chain when no supermarket can be put there.
Some lawyer is getting a bollocking this morning.

Anonymous said...

I'm not normally a huge fan of the Council but they've made a big difference by getting the Article 4 direction in place quickly. Well done Cllr Alan Smith.

M said...

Indeed. Seems the council know a credit to the area when they see one!

Anonymous said...

it's their local boozer

Anonymous said...

Yes, the Catford Bridge Tavern is quite close to Lewisham Town Hall.

But credit where credit is due, the broader community might get a good result because of this.

Who is this freeholder that has done so much for the area?

Anonymous said...

not sure this will have a happy ending, supermarket chains have ways of getting around these things

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to be optimistic. Supermarket chains may well have ways of getting around this, but I can't help feeling that the freeholder may well end up being sued by the supermarket chain. After all, if you want to sell something you have to be in a position to sell something. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Cllr_Alan said...

Just for the cynic who said its our boozer, we have done the same at the Baring Hall, and the Greyhound in Sydenham. The councillors used the CBT because it was a great place to go, and a real asset to Catford.

Anonymous said...

Every time the retailer or freeholder try to get planning permission to change the use to retail, we, the public, will be here to object as we did so in such strength of numbers this time. They will not win.

Anonymous said...

The freeholder sounds like a right money hungry t!t who couldnt give a toss about Catford, the area they make their money from......!

Anonymous said...

The article 4 Direction was only put before the Mayor on November 14.

Any clue as to who the national retailer is?

Brockley Sarah said...

I really wish Richard and his staff the very best of luck with this campaign. I only managed to visit it a few weeks ago, but what a transformation! They really have made the best of the space and it's such a fun place to sit and soak up the atmosphere, there's so much to look at! As per usual Antic delivered with the ales and I'm sure the food is good too! Please save what is a HUGE asset to the area.

Anonymous said...

Its a great pub i hope they win through. The retailer is Sainsburys I think.

FrFintonStack said...

@Anon 22 November 2012 17:27

That's the freeholder problem, though. The supermarket might be able to sue the freeholder for compensation, and they can't sue it for something that isn't within its power to give.

That said, I'm not particularly optimistic either. The freeholder might not be able to turn the place into a supermarket or flats, but there's nothing to stop them engaging in a game of brinkmanship and leaving it empty for months or years, a la the Ivy House in Nunhead, waiting for the council to relent.

Mrs B said...

We are absolutely gutted that the CBT has closed. We had our wedding reception there nearly two weeks ago. It was the first wedding that Theresa and her fantastic team had done and it was brilliant. A great venue and a great attitude. We really hope that the CBT team gets back in there because it's a great asset to Catford and a perfect distance walk from Brockley.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was Tescos.

(not that matters much)

Anonymous said...

If it looks as if things aren't going to work out with the supermarket chain concerned, I may try and contact the CEO (I have his name and e:mail address) and try and appeal to his better nature. If all else fails, it might work. After all, these people don't always know what's going on further down the food chain in their organisations. I won't do anything yet because I don't want to jeopardise any current negotiations, but if things don't look good it could be a runner.

Anonymous said...

Planning application has been rejected!

1. The proposed change of use from a public house (Class A4) to retail unit (Class A1) and residential accommodation (Class C3) would cause the loss of a vital and valued community facility

2. The loss of a public house (Class A4) and the creation of a retail unit (Class A1) would have a negative impact on the viability and vitality of Catford town centre

Also a few comments about detrimental design and flat size.

Well done Lewisham Council. Now lets hope that the landlord lets the CBT back in.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 10.53
Are you related to the pub/Antic? If not I'd make sure you contact them before you do anything, as they may well already be doing similar things and you don't want to jeopardize their actions.

Anonymous said...

Are you related to the pub/Antic? If not I'd make sure you contact them before you do anything, as they may well already be doing similar things and you don't want to jeopardize their actions.

No, I'm not. I would never do anything without asking Antic first. I'm hoping that good sense will prevail within the supermarket chain. The latter should reflect that things are tough on the high street and not all publicity is good publicity.

I believe that in the next 20 years one (or even several) of these supermarket chains will fail (I'll be long gone then). After all, if someone had told me 20 years ago that Woolworth's wouldn't exist I wouldn't have believed them. All it takes is a decade or two of poor management and mounting, unsustainable debts.

I'm desperate to see The Catford Bridge Tavern up and running again. I'm quite surprised at how strongly I feel about this. I'm so pleased that the planning application has been turned down. Well done Lewisham Council!

Anonymous said...

Agreed, the first step of what I suspect could be a long battle has been won.

I suspect we'll see some brinkmanship from the landlord, which will be stupid (nearly as stupid as cancelling a lease for free that was paying him above market rates to pursue an impossible supermarket). I think the foolish decision to kill off the lease, and presumably his realisation that he will now get less money from the pub than before will cause a stubborn refusal to allow the CBT back in the short-run.

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