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Tesco still looking for Catford Bridge Tavern tenants after squat raid
Supermarket chain Tesco are still looking for pub operators to take over the popular Catford Bridge Tavern - after 20 squatters were evicted from the boarded-up premises last week.
The pub was turned around from its days as an anti-social behaviour hotspot by company Antic, but a community campaign and local listing by the council was required to stop plans to turn it into a supermarket.
However, after months of uncertainty, the award-winning pub was closed down at the end of last year, to uproar from its regulars - who included a host of Lewisham politicians.
Since then the venue - now owned by Tesco - has remained unused and boarded-up, becoming home to hordes of squatters, who were eventually evicted with the help of police on May 29.
Meanwhile, Antic have opened a new venue just up the road - the Catford Constitutional Club - which has taken a lot of the tavern's old clientèle.
Former regular Neale Graham, 35, of Faversham Road, said: "It’s such a shame to see it still boarded up more than six months on, with no sign of anything changing soon.
"The new owners promised they would build on the success of the Catford Bridge Tavern, but they have quite clearly failed to do so, and any updates about their plans have come to a halt as well.
"There is definitely the appetite for another upmarket pub in the town, and given its location it can’t help but draw in a crowd. Fingers crossed this saga has a happy ending – one that doesn't include a Tesco Express."
Plans for Camden Bars - the company behind a host of top north London venues - to take over the tavern appear to have faltered and the company did not respond to an inquiry from News Shopper.
A spokeswoman for Tesco said: "We are still in the process of looking for tenants and remain committed to finding a pub operator to take the space. We will let the community know when we have more information."
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