Last hurrah for pub as flats plan looms

The Grove in south Wimbledon closed on Tuesday

The Grove in south Wimbledon closed on Tuesday

First published in Drink by

A 147-year-old pub shutting down this week might escape conversion into flats or offices.

On Tuesday the Grove in south Wimbledon closed its doors with live music and a farewell party. The venue could change hands in the coming weeks.

But this week one of the current owners revealed the buyer was not linked to a planning bid made last year to change the Morden Road pub into a shop and flats.

That application was later rejected by Merton Council’s planning committee.

Manager and part-owner Joel Matthews, who bought the pub’s freehold two-and-a-half years ago, said financial pressures meant it had to be sold – despite efforts to keep the business going.

He said: “We’ve tried all avenues, and even offered to re-lease it off potential buyers. I don’t know what the new buyer’s plans are.”

Wimbledon Heritage: "If the Grove pub is closed down the last remaining connection with what was once Merton Grove will be lost. "

The pub was built in 1865 and named after Merton Grove, the estate of Wimbledon landowner Sir Richard Hotham.

In recent years the pub has hosted sold-out gigs by bands including British Sea Power and Funeral For a Friend, as well as regular stand-up comedy nights.

Last November developer Newridge London submitted a bid for outline planning permission to demolish the building and replace it with a three-storey structure including a ground floor shop unit and nine flats.

The plan was criticised by pub group Camra, which said the Grove was a valuable local amenity.

In December council officers turned down the plan, stating the applicant had failed to prove running a pub on the site was not economically viable.

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