An east Greenwich pub which lost its licence last summer after a customer was stabbed is set to be sold – but community groups have first refusal if they can find the cash to buy it.
The Star and Garter on Old Woolwich Road was shut down in August after the incident, in which a man was said to have suffered life-threatening injuries after being stabbed in the abdomen.
Police were not called and CCTV in the premises was found to be not working. “Because of non-cooperation by the management and staff, and customers, the suspect was at large for 11 days,” a Greenwich Council licensing committee found later that month. (See video of the meeting.)
While a number of neighbours submitted representations to support the backstreet pub, which had no past record of trouble, the committee voted to revoke its licence and the pub has stayed empty since.
Now the building’s owner, the Greenwich Hospital charity, has told the council that it plans to sell up. The charity is a major landowner in the area, profits from which fund services for serving and retired members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.
Land Registry records show that the Star and Garter is owned by the defence secretary – currently Ben Wallace – on behalf of the charity.
However, because it is an asset of community value (ACV), community groups have a six-week window to ask to be considered as a potential bidder – enabling them to halt any potential sale so they can prepare the bid.
A notice was published by Greenwich Council three weeks ago, but has only just come to light. Community groups need to contact the council by April 11 if they are thinking of bidding.
The pub’s designation as an asset of community value expires in May, five years after it was first given the status.
While the law surrounding ACVs is designed to allow community groups a chance to protect much-loved facilities, the process is harder in London, where property prices are beyond the reach of most groups – and is likely to be harder still with a pub just a few hundred metres from the Old Royal Naval College.
Four pubs in Greenwich borough have been declared ACVs, but three – The White Swan in Charlton, O’Dowds in Plumstead and the Star & Garter – are closed. The fourth, The Vanbrugh, in east Greenwich, is temporarily closed following the departure of its long-serving manager. A planning inspector recently allowed the construction of a house on part of its beer garden.
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