A “classic London pub” could be knocked down for to make room for new offices but locals want it to stay, claiming the loss would be a “severe blow” to the City.
A construction company wants to knock-down St Bride’s Tavern and a neighbouring office block on New Bridge Street to make room for a new office building with a pub, restaurant and rooftop overlooking the City.
The development site is made up of a four-storey pub and seven-storey office building near Blackfriars and City Thameslink stations.
A planning report made for the developer said the plans are “an opportunity to make an exceptional modern place of work” and low-carbon materials would be used “where possible”.
It adds: “We are proposing a new vision for the site, one which works positively with the retained stricture of the existing building, to provide an exciting and attractive place of work.”
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If the project goes ahead, St Bride’s Tavern would be bulldozed but the office building, Fleet House, would be partially knocked down. An eight-storey office would replace the old buildings with a new pub, cafe, or restaurant on the ground floor.
Locals have clapped-back at the plans, claiming the pub is loved by many and is an important part of London’s history. Dozens of residents and City workers have written to the City of London Corporation, which runs the Square Mile, objecting to the plans.
East London resident Jack Raison said: “St Brides Tavern is a perfect example of a classic London pub with local heritage, cultural significance and historical importance.”
He added: “The local area is already saturated with generic office buildings and cafes. Local pubs like this [are] what keeps an area’s character and spirit alive… without it the area will have nothing left other than chain brand cafes and shops which all close after office hours.
“These sorts of small establishments should have support to help protect them as London is becoming wiped of all similar places with character and cultural significance. Proposing to destroy them in favour of another bland office building is incredibly sad.”
Another East London resident Julian Faber also said he wants the old pub to stay.
He said: “The St Bride’s Tavern is a well-established public house, serving a wide variety of members of the public. I’ve used it on many occasions. It’s places like this that make the City of London what it is, and its loss would be a severe blow to the surrounding area.
“New buildings have a notorious environmental impact, an impact that would far outweigh any benefits yet more office space would provide – extra office space that isn’t needed in this area. Please don’t ruin any more of the city’s heritage and architectural gems in the name of more facile rebuilding for rebuilding’s sake.”
City resident Bonita Ince said the pub should stay as it is historically important. She wrote: “St Brides tavern is a cherished place of congregation for the local community and a beautiful, traditional pub that is a landmark of historic interest to tourists in the area.
“The pub has been cherished and run as a business with love and care by the landlords that occupy it… I cannot express strongly enough how devastating it would be to the landlords and the wider community and customers who frequent it if this demolition goes ahead.
“The history and heritage of our city lies in great danger if the City of London council continue to allow greedy developers to demolish sites such as these to make way for yet more (unnecessary) office and modern bar spaces.”
Both the pub and office block were built in the 1950s, according to a report by building consultants KM Heritage.
The report also said the wooden bay of St Bride’s Tavern “broadly emulates the proportions of a 17th century London town house” but in reality, it “has no physical heritage value at all”.
The City of London Corporation is expected to decide whether or not the plans get the green light in October.
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