A petition has been set up to save the Rockingham Estate’s last remaining pub from demolition from developers.
Blazeland Ltd, part of Acorn Property Group, submitted a planning application in May to knock down Harper Road’s The Rising Sun and replace it with a six-storey block of flats and commercial space, designed by Fereday Pollard Architects.
The pub is a thriving business and community centre that has featured in Michael Caine’s Harry Brown and, more recently, an Inbetweeners film.
So far 80 have signed the petition, set up by the Walworth Society this month, calling on Southwark Council’s planning committee to refuse the application and protect the ‘fabulous’ boozer.
The Rising Sun provides a base to many local sports teams including Darts players from across south-east London, and in normal times pre COVID-19 has hosted regular live music events.
Public objections to the development submitted to the council include worries over yet another ‘identikit’ block replacing a good quality, heritage asset, light being blocked from neighbouring properties, and community space being lost without any replacement – all with a carbon footprint.
One objector wrote: “On Sundays, the Rising Sun is the only pub in the area where the elderly can look forward to entertainment from a three-piece band which the pub provide, and the customers – I’m talking immaculately dressed pensioners – can actually join in singing and dancing to ‘old-time’ music.
“The patronage by these people has been established over 40 years… the public house is frequented by a regular who is 98 years old and for all her adult life there has been a public house on this site. In fact she even met her husband in this venue.” Another described the plans as “pointless destruction”
Demolishing the pub would be in breach of the council’s own borough-wide regeneration plan which states that pubs should only be redeveloped if they are no longer commercially viable.
In its application, Blazeland points out the pub is neither grade listed nor in a conservation area. Describing its approach, the design brief explains: “To promote Acorn’s ‘different by design’ ethos, we employ an in-house interiors and design management team to ensure our primary objective is attained, the creation of attractive and carefully designed spaces that enhance the local environment and the lives of the occupiers.
“We combine the location and opportunities with the fundamental elements of light and space, to enable the design to reveal itself as an instinctive response to these issues, so that ‘different by design’ becomes a natural evolution rather than a simple application of standard solutions.
“The result is open, airy, contemporary homes, incorporating innovative design with quality, bespoke details that complement their environment and embody sustainable design and technology.”
A third of Southwark’s pubs were lost between 2007-2017 including in its number the Rockingham’s Royal Standard and William IV.
Sign the petition here.
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