Campaigners Fight For Local Pub

Online petition is launched

Campaigners fighting against a planning application for the Mordern Tavern have launched a petition calling for an independent valuation of the site of the former pub.

Plans to convert the historic pub (right) into retail units and apartments, as well as flats, houses and maisonettes in the garden were submitted by Reef Estates earlier this year.

But more than 800 people objected to the scheme and Merton Borough Council planners agreed to defer the decision to a later date.

Merton Council were actually the freeholders of the pub in Central Road but have signed a contract with Reef to sell the freehold, subject to the grant of planning permission.

The Campaign for Mordern Tavern (CMT), which was formed to fight the plans, said there are enough new homes being added to the St Helier estate and the pub was an important social facility.

The building was also 'locally listed' by the council in 2010 as a typical period building, designed by highly-regarded architect Sir Harry Redfern.

The Local Government Ombudsman is looking into council's role in the deal to sell the freehold, following a submission by CMT.

The scheme is not likely to be discussed by the planning committee until the autumn, and CMT has launched a petition calling for an independent valuation of the site. It says the council has a duty to get the best value for the site.

But Leader of Merton Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: "We have highly professional planning and property specialists working within the council. Therefore, we are not currently considering an additional independent valuation. Any future planning applications would be scrutinised by our independent planning application committee to ensure responsible development of the site."

CMT is also working on making an alternative proposal for the site and is interested in any suggestions which would benefit the St Helier community.

The petition is on Merton Council's website: Click here.

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September 1, 2011