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Last orders call for our traditional pub

PUBLISHED: 18:17 30 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:45 16 August 2010

PUBS that bring character to neighbourhoods are under threat. Several have already been closed and turned in to flats. Inns around Penge and Crystal Palace have been shut and put up for sale or leaseholds. In Penge, the Hop House in Maple Road close

PUBS that 'bring character' to neighbourhoods are under threat. Several have already been closed and turned in to flats.

Inns around Penge and Crystal Palace have been shut and put up for sale or leaseholds.

In Penge, the Hop House in Maple Road closed last year and planning permission has been granted for the site to be developed and Hollywood East is still functioning but also has planning permission for housing.

The Queen Adelaide, Penge High Street is also up for sale although there are no plans at the moment for a change of use.

Labour councillor for Penge, John Getgood, said it was a sign of changing times and how people want to be entertained differently.

He said: "Pubs bring a lot of character to a place. Some residents will remember when Maple Road had a pub on every corner. How times have changed. It's a shame but we've got to make sure the character and diversity of our high streets remains.

"The Crooked Billet on Penge High Street was rumoured to be for sale but because it is a listed building and of historic interest there are restrictions on what can be done with it.

"And in Crystal Palace it's a similar story with The Palace in Anerley Hill looking for a new leaseholder and The Cambridge in Church Road under offer. Clearly pubs do not have the same hold on the community they once did."

Asked why so many are closing, he said: "Perhaps people want more variety but it could also be to do with the smoking ban."

The Market Tavern, Maple Road, is also shut.

Mr Getgood suggested Bromley council should buy it to use as a social centre but they apparently refused.

He said: "Penge is severely short on meeting places and it is right in the middle of the High Street, an excellent location. We're disappointed the council has refused. I would be interested to see the details of their investigation."

Executive councillor for local economy, Julian Benington, said: "The council has looked at the Market Tavern site to deliver local services, but it is not suitable.

"Advice for any community groups who may wish to purchase the site, in the form of guidance regarding access to grants and other funding, has been offered."

Asked whether it is just a case of more developers turning historical buildings in to flats, Mr Getgood said: "Of course if people need housing that must be provided. But people need to come out on the street, for shopping, socialising, entertainment.

"It's vital that we retain the commercial activity of all outlets, pubs included."

What do you think?

e-mail: katherine.nelson@archant.co.uk

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