A landmark pub whose name is familiar to millions of London radio listeners has closed its doors, two years after its owner won approval to convert part of the building into flats.

The Sun in the Sands, in Blackheath, has sat on the corner of Shooters Hill Road and Sun Lane since the 1840s, although a pub has been on the site for many years before that. 

Since the late 1960s and the construction of the Blackwall Tunnel approach, it has given its name to one of London’s best-known junctions, with the Sun-in-the-Sands roundabout frequently appearing on radio travel bulletins.

The pub had been in decline for some years, and was turned into a restaurant and then a cafe about a decade ago. 

An application to knock it down was refused in 2018, but in summer 2021 Greenwich Council approved plans to knock down rear extensions – including an original outbuilding – to build six flats and a commercial unit, keeping a smaller pub.

The Sun in the Sands
The pub had been in decline for some time Credit: The Greenwich Wire

Only four comments were received from locals about the plans, so it was decided by planning officers in private rather than by councillors making a decision in public. 

“Although a significant area of pub floor space would be lost, the majority of the floorspace would be retained and the loss of this space would not unacceptably harm the viability of the pub,” a planning report concluded.

Builders already appear to be on site, although a construction plan will need to be submitted to the council before demolition can begin.

Sun in the Sands roundabout sign
The pub’s name is well known to listeners of radio traffic reports Credit: The Greenwich Wire

A similar conversion of another local landmark – the Antigallican pub in Charlton  – was completed last year, with most of the expanded building converted into 60 hotel rooms. 

While space for a smaller pub was retained and a premises licence granted in March, the space is not being used. One condition written into the new Antigallican licence is that the pub cannot be open to the public when Charlton Athletic are playing at home.