Bromley pub The Chelsfield is saved
PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 July 2019
Hours after discovering Punch Taverns wanted to bulldoze The Chelsfield pub for apartments, as well as a new bar and shop, regulars started a campaign from a laptop at the end of the bar.
More than six months later, those same regulars are celebrating after a long-winded planning process resulted in the government rejecting the plans.
Punch proposed nine flats above a new pub, but regulars claimed a new bar would strip the community of its focal point.
Save the Chelsfield gathered more than 1,000 objections and harnessed the support of their local councillors and MP to fight the redevelopment.
More than 1,000 people backed their Facebook page, with posts being viewed by more than 7,000.
Bromley Council did not deal with the application in the usual timeframe, leading to an appeal straight to the government's inspectorate - which rejected the scheme last week.
Welcoming the decision, Save the Chelsfield said: "We thank our supporters, councillors, local MP, Campaign for Real Ale and most importantly our community.
"We call on Punch to talk to us, your customers and loyal community to find a way forward for the good of all. We welcome any open and transparent dialogue."
In her report, inspector Katie McDonald said: "I have significant concerns regarding the compatibility of uses, and the protection of the living conditions of future residents may severely compromise the activities and operation of the future public house, such that it would not be able to provide the same facilities and opening hours as The Chelsfield."
Punch's managing director, Andy Spencer, said: "We fully respect the decision and look forward to building the business in its current guise. We understand the points made by the planning inspector and recognise the local feeling toward the pub. In fact we welcome this show of support from the local community and feel confident that The Chelsfield will have a successful future, welcoming customers old and new."