Some good news on the Queens Arms, just off Queenstown Road. Neighbours & regular readers will know it was closed in 2017, and architects Boon Brown won planning permission to redevelop it, creating five flats (four two-bed ones and a studio) by reorganising the interior, extending the upper floors, and adding a new storey on the roof.
Conscious that many pubs in Wandsworth are now protected from conversion to other uses, the owners fought hard to be able to convert the ground floor to a shop. This didn’t, in the end, wash and the applications to change the use were withdrawn.
The building is looking good – fully cleaned, with new windows and a new roof. It’s in the Park Town Conservation Area, and is locally listed as a ‘building of merit’.
The plans preserved about 3,300 square feet of space for pub or restaurant use (most of the ground floor and basement).
This space was offered to let with no ties (i.e. no link to any particular brewery) and ‘nil premium’ (which means there’s no up front payment to be made to the outgoing landlord for the value of the current trade and clientele, which seems reasonable as the pub has been closed for over two years). The expectation was for a 20-year lease, the rent rising every five years in line with open market rent or retail prices (limited to between 1% and 4% a year). Adverts for the pub also noted that offers may for the long leasehold or even the building freehold might be considered. The adverts sought offers over £60,000 a year. However there was little sign of activity and in our previous post a few months ago, we were at a bit of a loss on whether it would ever reopen.
The good news is – there is a new licensing application on the doors! As with most licensing application notices it doesn’t give much away, other than that the prospective new licensee is Connor McLoughlin, that operating hours are generally 10am to 11pm, that the name of the pub isn’t changing, and that they are seeking permission to show films. We don’t know which pub company (if any) is behind this – a possibly-related Connor McLaughlin is linked to the recently-opened, and well reviewed, independent Woodman pub in Wimbledon Park, between Earlsfield and Wimbledon – but that’s about it.
We haven’t managed to find out much more at this stage (but as ever – any tips from our readers most welcome!) – however a license application is a promising sign. And while the current crisis is a tough time for any pub, let alone what will essentially be a brand new one, we’re increasingly optimistic that once this all passes, the Queens Arms will be able to return – after many years – to being the heart of the neighbourhood that it used to be.
The other news is that a distinctly architectural new 2-3 bed house has been built in the back yard. It’s a little hard to do it justice in a photo, but it’s definitely a one-off design that has been carefully built to a high standard. A great deal of thought has gone in to the design of the building, which includes a sunken inner courtyard over two storeys, an underground gym, and an angled roof to preserve light to buildings behind. The image below (by Boon Brown, the architects) gives some guide as to how a relatively large house has been fitted in to the plot (it’s shown from the back – so the red brick house on the left is the first house in the existing terrace along Tennyson street).
Your author thinks it makes rather clever use of the space – it occupies a very strange shaped and awkward piece of land that won’t have been easy to work with. This seems to have been mainly a back storage yard for the pub in a previous incarnation, and (partly) an old substation plot.
With a bit of luck – and assuming Mr McLaughlin gets his license for the Queens Arms – the new occupants of the house won’t have far to go to their nearest pub.