A beloved pub will be bulldozed and replaced with an office block, and a new watering hole, forcing its landlords to leave the place they have lived and worked in for 17 years.
Husband and wife David and Karen Perkins have lost their battle to save the St Brides Tavern near Fleet Street from being knocked down after trying everything they could to protect the 1950s pub.
The pub at Bridewell Place will be demolished and part of a neighbouring office block will be knocked down to make space for over 7,000 square metres of office space, a City of London planning committee decided. The new space will support over 250 new jobs.
The new building will have a new pub at the bottom that will be twice as large, but none of the original elements of the St Brides Tavern will remain.
The new block will be eight storeys high and it will feature a rooftop with views of the city and a space in the basement and ground floor to serve alcohol, coffee and food.
David and Karen had attempted to make the pub an Asset of Community Value in December after hearing about the developer’s plans for the building but the City of London Corporation declined to give it this status.
They had also tried to launch a campaign to protect their beloved pub and home and they managed to get over 1,000 people to sign a petition in an attempt to save the venue.
The pair previously told the Local Democracy Reporting Service they thought there was more appetite for a traditional pub in the City than a modern watering hole in an office block.
Karen said: “We don’t know what our future is. We don’t actually object to the office building being knocked down because it’s ugly. We just want to save the pub. We don’t want to walk away.
“One person who commented online said ‘You come to the pub as a guest and leave as a friend’. We know 90per cent of our customers by name.”
David added: “We have been humbled by it. We know all their drinks – when they come in they don’t even have to order. We’ve even named some of our drinks after them. They are the reason we are pushing so hard.
“To walk away from it isn’t going to be easy. To start all over again is really hard.”
The couple also previously said they wouldn’t be able to afford the rent at the new site because it would cost them an extra £200,000.
The new building is expected to take two years to build and there will be a new, pub that is nearly double the size at the bottom of the building. But there is no guarantee the pub will even be named after the St Brides Tavern.
City of London councillors quizzed developers on the pub’s future and whether they wanted to try and keep the St Brides Tavern going.
Developer Fleet House Development Limited said: “We are very amenable to working with a third-party operator for options for naming.
“We are happy to have a public consultation about name options as long as it’s controlled and it doesn’t end up with a controversial name that upsets everybody.”
Speaking at the meeting, alderman Ian Luder said: “I think it’s very important there is a pub there. I think that’s a very positive feature of the development. If the new owners wish to call it St Brides Tavern, if they decide they want to call it the Whitefriar that is also great.”
The City of London Corporation voted unanimously in favour of the new building and pub.
The development will keep 72 per cent of the existing structure, helping improve its environmental footprint.
City of London Corporation Planning Committee Chairman, Shravan Joshi, said: “This development will take a rather dated 1950s office building with poor energy performance and turn it into a vibrant, modern, sustainable building which meets the needs of 21st-century business.
“By keeping most of the existing building structure, creating a far more energy-efficient building than the current one and providing urban greening, it will contribute towards our ambition to make the Square Mile carbon net zero by 2040.
“The new pedestrian access to Bride’s Lane, and the new pub with a far more visible frontage, will bring a real vibrancy and life to the neighbourhood, in line with our Destination City vision to make the Square Mile a 24/7 visitor destination.”
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