Controversial Pub Scheme  Gets Appeal Go-Ahead

Community pub plans are shattered

Controversial plans for the empty Morden Tavern have been given the go-ahead by a planning inspector.

Merton Borough Council's planning committee had turned down an application for retail units, flats, houses and maisonettes on the site in Central Road, Morden, in January.

But developers Reef Estates appealed to the Planning Inspectorate about the decision made on their £1 million scheme.

Planning inspector Mike Moore announced on Wednesday (September 26) that planning permission should be granted to the scheme.

His decision included a number of conditions the developers must follow, including implementing a bats strategy and retaining the frontage of the historic pub.

But the approval granted for the scheme is a blow to local campaigners who hoped to set up a community pub.

The St Helier pub group put out the following statement: "The Campaign is saddened to receive the news that the Planning Inspectorate has upheld the appeal by the developer Reef Estates to build Shops and Flats on the Morden Tavern site.

"The community put up a great fight to save our asset and we thought our business plan to turn the Morden Tavern into a multi-use pub and community centre was a real winner.

"Sad as we are we still believe the battle was worth fighting and that we should be proud of the parts we all played in this David vs Goalith battle."

Merton's council's cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration, Councillor Andrew Judge, said: "This development will provide much needed housing for local people, with a design and character that has won the approval of the Planning Inspector. It is good that there should finally be an outcome for the site, which I hope will be considered in a positive light.”

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September 26, 2012