A PUB set to be bulldozed to make way for shops and flats is a historic gem which should be preserved, campaigners say.

The Baring Hall Hotel pub in Baring Road, Grove Park, currently closed following a fire last year, will be demolished if an application is approved by Lewisham Council planning chiefs.

But complaints are growing due to the building’s history. It was originally built as part of the Earl of Northbrook’s estate in 1882 and is an early design by well known architect Ernest Newton.

Stephen Kenny, part of the environment sub-committee for the road’s Ringway community centre, said: “Lewisham’s planning department is near to allowing a historical gem to be demolished.

“This building is of national and local importance. Newton is an esteemed architect along with William Morris and others from the arts and crafts movement.”

He said: “The building is one of Newton’s early works and shows a valuable timeline of progression. Would one destroy an early Picasso?”

Campaigners want to see the original building retained in any development and are urging other residents to write in and object.

Mr Kenny, 43, of Baring Road, said: “It’s a landmark, a fine building and I don’t understand why it can’t be kept.

“I don’t think many people actually realise what this building is, or know it’s going to be demolished.”

Lord Northbrook and the Ancient Monuments Society are also writing to Lewisham Council to object.

A date for the planning committee has not yet been set.