Proposals for 44 flats and commercial units on landmark site
Plans have been made for a development of 44 flats, rising to three storeys, and commercial units on the site of the historic White Hart pub in Kingston Road in Wimbledon.
The pub has been closed for nearly two years, and the site is owned by the Rutlish Foundation, which aims to submit a planning application in March.
The Trustees of the charitable foundation invited nearby residents to an exhibition of their re-development plans on Tuesday (December 19).
They revealed that they aimed to develop the site in two phases, with the later stage involving the land behind the pub now occupied by Rutlish Autos.
The first phase would involve the demolition of the pub and its replacement with 20 one-to-three bed apartments. Residents attending the exhibition were told the aim was to start construction work in the summer of 2019.
The second phase of the development would include 24 flats, with four aimed at people with disabilities. This part of the development, around a courtyard, could also include a creche and some kind of community facility.
There would be no parking on the site, and a potential 40% of the homes scheme would consist of affordable housing. The Kingston Road pavement would also be slightly widened as part of the development.
There were mixed views at the exhibition about the loss of a pub, which is close to the Merton Park tram stop, as well as the initial design for the development.
Geoff Strawbridge, London Regional Director of the Campaign for Real Ale, was among around 90 people who visited the exhibition.
He said: "It is surely wrong to contemplate demolishing an historic pub building to replace it with more shops and more flats, though other aspects of the scheme have some merit. A refurbished pub here, free of tie, serving beer from local breweries, could thrive."
Peri Kennedy, who lives nearby in Kingston Road, said: "It's a shame that consideration hasn't been given for keeping this historic pub in the community."
Another resident from nearby Rutlish Road felt the design did not reflect the "architectural spirit" of the area and said it looked like an "office block in the middle of a residential area."
But the trustees were keen to emphasise that the aim of the exhibition was to gather views, with all feedback being reviewed by the design team from Wimbledon-based Marcus Beale Architects before the final proposals are developed.
Martin Waller, from the Rutlish Foundation, explained that the foundation is a charitable body which supports activities at Rutlish School and provides grants to assist students. They were keen to provide a development which would enhance the community, including fulfilling what they believe is Merton Council's aspiration for 40% affordable housing.
He said: "There will be a development on the site as there is no commercial viability for the pub, but a smaller bar may well work as one of the commercial units. We've had lots of useful feedback from the event."
More information on the plans are available, with feedback forms which can be filled out until January 20, on this link: www.marcus-beale.com/projects/white-hart/
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December 22, 2017