Rotherhithe residents fighting to keep their Albion

Staff Reporter (31 March, 2021)

The former pub was put on the market for £1.25m this month with planning permission for eight flats and a drinking establishment

43491SAVE OUR ALBION people gathered on Sunday outside the pub

Rotherhithe residents have spoken up in protest at the loss of pubs serving the local community, writes Kit Heren…

Planning permission was given for homes and a “ground floor drinking establishment” on the site of the former Albion pub on Albion Street in 2019.

Local councillor Stephanie Cryan previously “called in” the development over concerns about the size of the eight flats it would include – four studios, three one-bed flats and one two-bed property, according to a sales brochure – but permission was later granted.

The former pub, which has lain empty for years, was put on the market in March 2021 for £1.25m with planning permission, but local group Save Our Albion are urging Southwark Council to reconsider the plans. Some 44 people gathered outside the pub in protest on Sunday.

“Rotherhithe and Bermondsey residents have witnessed dozens of their cherished boozers lost to the wrecking ball in recent years,” a spokesperson for the group told the News. “They are now saying enough is enough.”

“It’s now time for local councillors to join with local residents not against them. Working class pubs such as the Albion are a vital part of the Canada Water Masterplan and wider Rotherhithe area. This iconic landmark pub has to remain in Albion Street.”

The former Albion Pub in Rotherhithe

Campaigners argue that the loss of the pub would be a heritage issue, given the building’s distinctive mock Tudor design. The property is not listed but is considered a non-designated heritage asset by Southwark Council. The 2019 planning application dismissed the pub as “plain” and “a typical example of an interwar Neo-Tudor public house, which are very common”.

The chairman of the residents’ association for the Clegg, Murdoch and Neptune houses near the pub wrote in a comment objecting to the original planning application that: “The Albion (1928) is almost exactly contemporary with our estate (completed 1929) and both are good examples of late arts and crafts style architecture. They were strongly influenced by the garden city movement of Ebenezer Howard and tried to bring some of the attributes of rural vernacular buildings to the inner city…

“The pub makes a positive contribution to the important view of the Norwegian Church and its new garden from the west and should, in our view, be listed. The rather grim proposed replacement would seem very much out of place.

“Albion Street has been shamefully neglected over the past 30 years despite the vast amount of regeneration that has taken place in SE16 as a whole. The two pubs and the Norwegian church are the only buildings at the west end of the street to have survived the war and given the importance that this street has had in the history of Rotherhithe we very much hope that they can be preserved.”

Southwark Council was contacted for comment.

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