Last hurrah for pub as flats plan looms
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.”
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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