A CATFORD pub which controversially closed and then lay derelict for years has finally been replaced with a new building.

The Green Man in Bromley Road is being replaced by the new headquarters of Phoenix housing association along with community facilities.

A barter deal with housing company L&Q, which originally owned the site, saw the pub transfer to Phoenix with a nearby site primed for new homes handed to L&Q in return.

Due to open later this year, the association is working with Lewisham Plus Credit Union and Lewisham Council to offer "shopping centre" style services for people.

These include office space for the credit union, a training kitchen, a cafe, new public square instead of the pub car park, and a barn building for group events.

It has now had its topping-out ceremony with special guests including Lewisham East MP Heidi Alexander.

Phoenix chairwoman Pat Fordham said: “We will make the most of this location by creating a social hub for our community that will deliver many, and more, of the benefits of an old style community pub.

“We would like to recreate the strongest element of the old pub – being a vital part of community cohesion. Having this wonderful new building in the heart of our community will be a huge step forward for us.

“Phoenix is not just about bricks and mortar – it’s about people, and the new development will benefit our residents and other local people too. Everyone will get a big Phoenix welcome.”