THE popular Catford Bridge Tavern has had to close its doors following a planning application to turn it into a supermarket.
Thousands of people fought to save the boozer – with an online petition of 2,061 alone - but staff were turfed out yesterday.
However, the pub’s collective Antic is hopeful the exit is short-term and tells the community to “watch this space”.
Announcing it on Twitter, a Catford Tavern post read: “With the heaviest of hearts I have to let you all know we'll be handing our keys back tomorrow. Long story, but it's not the end ...”
Antic Operations Director Max Alderman told News Shopper: “We gave the keys back yesterday but we are very hopeful we can come to an arrangement with the main landlord to get back in.
“Sadly, yes, it is closed and I can’t say when it will re-open.
“We will do absolutely everything we can to keep it.
“Watch this space.”
It comes after Lewisham Council backed the fight and put an Article 4 order on the pub - meaning the landlord will now have to go through planning to drive through retail ambitions.
Mr Alderman says the landlord was unaware of the Article 4 in place and there is room for negotiation to save the building as a pub.
He said: “They were unaware that an article 4 going through. That was posted on Monday and that has rather changed it all.
“We won’t be open this weekend but we would like to be in a week or two. We have left everything in situ so we could move right back in.”
The tavern’s chequered history as a problem pub was recently turned around to become a community hub.
Mr Alderman thanked supporters and urged people to keep backing the petition against the pub’s closure.
The 46-year-old said: “We have had so much support from all the petitions and continuing that groundswell would help.
“It’s been phenomenal and certainly helps our cause with the council. “It demonstrates to the landlord that politically it would be silly to change its use.”
He added: “Whilst it isn’t listed, it [Article 4] suggests to the people that it is worthwhile and it should be an iconic pub and everyone should know it.
"It is recognition that it is a worthwhile thing. Despite bad press, a good pub is something good for the community.”
To find out more and get involved visit catfordbridgetavern.com