Staff at a New Cross pub which has been saved from closing down have thanked the “incredible” community for campaigning to save the boozer.

Paddy Ryan, who owns The White Hart with brother Joseph, said he’s “feeling great” after Lewisham Council’s planning board rejected plans to convert the top floors of the pub into flats.

“It’s a massive win. It’s just great,” Paddy told News Shopper.

The pub’s future was put in jeopardy when The Wellington Pub Group’s planning application proposed reducing its opening hours and stopping live music.

News Shopper:

Staff argued the plans would make the business “untenable” and encouraged customers to sign a petition fighting the decision – which racked up more than 3,000 signatures.

As the Save The Hart campaign gained momentum, a staggering 319 people went one step further and made objections to the planning application online.

READ MORE: Staff at New Cross pub vow to fight conversion plans as campaign gathers momentum

Sanjit Chuda, 52, from Telegraph Hill, got involved in the campaign right at the beginning, encouraging locals to submit their objections to the council.

Speaking to News Shopper about the victory, Sanjit said: “It’s the best news. This community is really diverse and mixed and there’s something really treasured about The White Hart.

“It has a really generous open-door policy for everyone.”

News Shopper:

Dan Beames, assistant manager at The White Hart, said: “At the beginning, we were advised against appealing [the application] and were told we didn’t have much of a chance – the outlook was pretty bleak.

“But with so many people getting behind it and writing those objections – without that it probably would have breezed through.”

The 34-year-old who has worked in the pub trade for 15 years, described the sense of relief among the staff since the application was rejected.

“We’re all very happy but it’s also just a pressure release.

“Being vaguely threatened constantly is not a very pleasurable thing to go through.”

While the application has been rejected, staff have said “the fight isn’t over yet” as The Wellington Pub Group could still appeal the decision.

The boozer’s lease is also up for renewal, which could be another tough battle for the management.

Paddy told News Shopper: “It’s not over yet. The campaign goes on and there’s still a long road to go down.

“It’s incredible what power the community have and we can’t thank them enough.

“It’s an amazing feeling to know you affect people’s lives so much that they want to help.”