Enderby House, October 2018
Enderby House and its new neighbours, seen in October

One of London’s biggest pub chains has won a licence to turn east Greenwich’s historic Enderby House into a bar and restaurant, despite concerns from neighbours in new housing developments alongside it.

Young’s has been given the go-ahead to serve alcohol at the house, which was built in 1846 by the Enderby whaling family, who were immortalised in the book Moby Dick.

The first transatlantic cables were loaded at Enderby Wharf, which later played a pivotal role in the development of modern communications, with the last cables made on the site in 1975.

But the house had fallen into disrepair after Alcatel, the successor to the original cable producers, sold the site for development. Now the building has been refurbished and extensions built at the back to accommodate the new pub.

It has been given a licence from 8am to 11.30pm on Mondays to Wednesdays, 8am to midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; and 8am to 11pm on Sundays.

Enderby House in 2014
Before the refurb: Enderby House in 2014

This was trimmed back slightly from an original application to serve until midnight on Mondays to Wednesdays and 11.30pm on Sundays after objections from neighbours, the police and the council’s own public health and environmental health teams.

The outdoor area will be closed after 10.30 Sunday to Wednesdays and 11pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; a first floor terrace will be open until 10pm on Sundays and 10.30pm on other nights.

Councillors also imposed an extra condition on the first floor terrace, which aimed at diners and has waiter service, stating that alcohol can only be served with food after 9pm. The terrace is the closest part of the pub to people’s homes.

Young’s solicitor James Anderson spoke of how the house had been empty for 14 years: “Barratt, which has developed the site, decided a number of years ago that they needed some form of community space. They thought Young’s would be the ideal premium pub operator with food for this riverside site in a mixed-use area.”

Referencing the 660 flats nearby, Anderson added: “It’s significant that there has been a mixed response to the application – a number of people have raised concerns, not against the idea, but against bits of the application. What Young’s try to do is try to move towards residents concerns, so they ave amended the application to impose further restrictions to achieve a good balance.”

But many neighbours raised concerns about the Cutty Sark, another Young’s pub a short distance along the riverfront, which had curbs placed on its outside beer garden last month after noise complaints.

Anderson admitted the Cutty Sark was “becoming something of a millstone round Young’s neck” but pointed out the pub’s beer garden was across the road from the venue and that neighbours lived “very very close” to it, adding that the firm also ran the Richard I in west Greenwich, which is also in a residential area, “without incident”.

David Way, Young’s operations manager, said that the first floor terrace would be quieter because it was aimed at diners: “Noise comes from the environment you create… because it is quite a cordoned-off area, your capacity is limited by the furniture you put out there.”

As for the ground floor terrace, Anderson added: “Our area will be a separate delineated area. We’ve had a meeting with the environmental health officer and we explained our proposals for managing the outside space… managing it effectively means getting staff where necessary to engage with customers, so there is an expectation of a certain type of behaviour.”

Way said the Enderby House terrace would be “an easier space to manage” than the Cutty Sark’s.

Because the pub would be the only community space on the Enderby Wharf development, Anderson said there would be an “in-built incentive” for it to respond to its neighbours’ concerns.

Asked if drinkers would gravitate to Thames Path seating placed outside the beer garden by Barratt or open space between the blocks of flats, Anderson said: “We would discourage it. If on occasion, people wanted to take their drink onto the Thames Path – we don’t hink it’s likely… we don’t think it’s likely there’ll be a wholesale departure of customers from the outside area.

“When you go to the pub, you don’t normally take your drinks and go for a wander around residential accommodation. That may happen anyway, but it’s less likely to happen from us.”

Earlier this year, plans for a new Hop Stuff bar in a purpose-built unit beneath flats at nearby Lovells Wharf were abandoned after Greenwich councillors refused permission for it to have outdoor drinking by the River Thames following objections from residents.

Because Greenwich Council does not routinely record meetings, 853 does it instead. You can watch the entire licensing meeting on this YouTube playlist.

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