Pubs are in the news in Dulwich. At the end of March the Dulwich Estate finally received planning consent for its longstanding proposal to turn the Crown and Greyhound into a small hotel or ‘pub with rooms’. Then, in early April, the Society was asked to attend an informal public consultation to turn the upper floors of the Grade II* listed Half Moon pub into 5 flats - and build a new house in the back garden.
I am sure everyone is aware of the number of pubs that are closing and Dulwich residents are very fortunate to have a wide choice in the area. As well as the Crown and Greyhound, there is also the Dulwich Woodhouse on Sydenham Hill, the Alleyn’s Head in Alleyn Park, the Fox on the Hill on Denmark Hill, the Paxton at Gipsy Hill and the Rosendale on the corner of Rosendale Road and Park Hall Road. And if that is not enough there are several more in Herne Hill, a short drive (or should it be walk?) away - the Commercial, the Florence, the Prince Regent and The Half Moon.
The Sir Ernest Shackleton on Bowen Drive on the Kingswood Estate and The Greendale on the Bessemer Estate are the only pubs we have actually lost, though there have been several more on the extremities of East Dulwich - and the Two Towers at the junction of Gipsy Road and Auckland Hill was demolished as recently as April.
But there is considerable concern that we are likely to lose another, the former Grove Hotel at the corner of Lordship Lane and Dulwich Common. It had been under the ‘Harvester’ brand until 2011 when it was taken over by the Stonegate group who own the ‘Yates’ and ‘Slug and Lettuce’ brands. Its reputation locally had suffered in recent years and, following a kitchen fire last year, it was closed and boarded up. There is no sign of any remedial work and those of us of a more cynical nature have looked at the size of its car park and garden and seen a development coming. The Dulwich Estate has assured us that the tenants have given no such indication but we do know that they are looking to assign the lease. It remains to be seen whether any new development will also include a pub.