A historic Catford pub is to be returned to its former glory but locals fear the proposed renovation risks it turning into a “heritage crime scene”. 

Lewisham Council intends to transform the Catford Constitutional Club through a multi-million pound refurbishment and extension. 

The building has been empty since 2019 when it was forced to close after officials deemed it structurally unsafe. 

But locals fear the regeneration of the listed public house, which dates back to the Georgian era, could see the building’s history decimated.

Local people believe the building is the oldest in Catford.

Resident Cheryl Mcleod, said: “The Catford Constitutional Club is the oldest building in Catford, dating back to the Georgian times.

“How is it possible to restore this building sensitively and make the alterations to the roof and other parts of the building by March 2023 when the council cannot disclose the total budget.

“Will this be a heritage crime scene?”

As part of the transformation, the Catford Constitutional Club will get new ceilings, roofs, walls and floors, as well as new fire alarms.

The building will also receive a complete rewiring and have CCTV installed under the proposals, which are estimated to cost £3.3 million. 

A new lift will be added, as well as a first floor walkway and staircase, and the bar area will be extended. 

Lewisham Council are currently searching for a new landlord for the pub, which will provide a space for arts, music and performance once the renovation is completed.

Refurbishment works are set to begin in summer next year, ahead of the pub’s scheduled opening in spring 2023. 

It has already received £1.65 million of funding from the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund, which provides money to make “innovative regeneration projects” become a reality. 

The pub’s renovation is part of the Thomas Lane yard project – the first stage in Lewisham Council’s plans to transform Catford by building 2,700 homes and creating the “greenest town centre in London”.

The Thomas Lane yard revamp will see up to 100 homes built in the area – 40 of which will be at social rent – as well as new workspace for shops and local businesses. 

Defending the plans to restore Catford Constitutional Club, councillor Paul Bell, said the project would be Catford’s “Notre-Dame”.

He said: “I’ll draw your reference to the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris that is being sensitively restored. The same thing will happen to the Catford Constitutional Club.

“It will be sensitively restored, maintaining our heritage because heritage is really important so that the people of Catford and beyond can use that community facility. 

“I’m very confident that it won’t be a heritage crime scene but that it will be a heritage asset for us all to cherish.”

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