Campaign to Save The Beehive Pub

13th January Campaign Update

Some really good news! Planning application 21/AP/3524 has today been refused by Southwark Council. The reasons for the refusal are shown below:

The full document that covers the refusal decision can be seen here

We would like to give huge thanks to the 247 people who objected to the application.

11th January 2022 Campaign Update

On the Southwark Planning portal the application (21/AP/3524) is still “Under consideration/assessment” but there have been a momumental 240 objections submitted.

If you would like to know more about the history of the Beehive, Southwark News have just published a feature by Walworth historian Neil Crossfield which looks at the 200-year story of the pub. The link is:

Object to planning application 21/AP/3524 that would end the Beehive’s 200-year + history as a pub in West Walworth.

  1. Background

The owners of the Beehive Public House (62 Carter Street SE17 3EW) have made a planning application (21/AP/3524) to Southwark Council for a change of use of the ground floor from its current use as a pub to residential accommodation. The Walworth Society objects to this application on a number of grounds and is encouraging as many people as possible to tell Southwark Council to refuse this application which would result in the permanent loss of an historic pub which has served the local community in West Walworth for well over 200 years. We believe that the Beehive remains a a viable business that can continue to be successful well into the future.

The decision that this is not a viable pub has been taken relatively recently and its signs were only removed in September 2021

September 2021 – Signage removed from the Beehive

2. The Importance of the Beehive

The grounds for our objections are set out in summary below but it is important to recognise the cultural and architectural significance of the pub. The society set out these points in detail in its submissions to Southwark Council linked to two successful applications for the pub to be designated as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) in September 2015 (effective until September 2020) and October 2020 (effective until October 2025). ACV designations run for 5 years.

In terms of its uses the Beehive is extremely important to the life and soul of West Walworth and the wider Walworth area in general combining as it does:

  • The Beehive is a focus for community life in West Walworth. People feel safe there and are happy to go there alone; it has a friendly feel with a mix of drink and high-quality food.
  • People like the fact that it combines an historic setting with a pleasant atmosphere.
  • This sense of coming together is also associated with its location at the crossroads of a number of locations, destinations and routes across West Walworth. Again, its success and value are linked to its capacity to be a central location that people are naturally drawn to to meet and socialise.
  • It is an important pub and social space in an area that has lost so many other pubs in recent years.
  • The Beehive is important in an area that is principally residential in nature and has a shortage of focal points for its social and communal life.
  • It is a community hub which welcomes people from diverse backgrounds.
  • It is a focal point for the local area and animates the public realm in both summer and winter when it is busy and full of people enjoying themselves.
  • In essence the Beehive is the heart of this area.
  • It is a place that is sufficiently friendly and relaxed that people can form friendships with other people who go there.
  • Also valuable is the role that the pub plays for local organisations. Again, in an area where venues are few on the ground, the Beehive offers an appropriate semi-formal character which is appropriate for organisations to make use of for meetings, other gatherings and social events associated with their businesses.
  • The Beehive has a good layout as a building which allows for flexible uses whether people are coming for a drink singly or as a group. This is useful in an area where people do not necessarily have much space where they live as is the case in West Walworth. Newington ward has extremely high residential densities (per hectare) that are significantly above the Southwark and London averages.
  • There is a significant contrast between the Beehive and other Walworth pubs with the Beehive having a more intimate atmosphere and meeting a local need that no other venue does across the Walworth area.

It is architecturally and historically significant owing to:

  • The land around the around the current pub was originally market gardens. Some of
  • Walworth’s Gardens were pleasure grounds for local public use and that of visitors from the centre of the city eg Beehive Tea Gardens and Montpelier Tavern and Tea Gardens.
  • The history of cricket owes a significant debt to the area as the Montpelier Cricket Club, one of the strongest clubs in South London in the early 19th Century used the Beehive Grounds until new building encroached to such a degree that the acquisition of these grounds left the Montpelier Club without premises. Land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall at Kennington Oval was then found for the purposes of building a new cricket ground and a cornerstone of English cricket was born in terms of the Oval Cricket ground and the Surrey County Cricket Club.
  • The pub remained intact through the almost total redevelopment of the area after the Second World War and the creation of the Penrose Estate from the remnants of Carter Street.
  • A short history of the Beehive by Diana Cochrane can be viewed and downloaded below. There are some amazing maps and images of the development of the local area and its focus on the Beehive.

3. How to Object

Below is an easy-to-use guide for objecting to the application. We set out some of the grounds that you might use along with some of the elements of planning policy that we believe will give Southwark Council extremely strong grounds to reject this application.

a. Go to the Southwark Council Planning Portal

b. Type in application number: 21/AP/3524

c. Go to the box Make a comment.

d. Enter your details – these will not appear on the pubished comment – and put down in your own words the grounds as to why you are objecting.

e. Grounds – we are suggesting that some or all of the following might be relevant in any objection:

  • This application for a change of use from a pub to residential goes against Southwark Council policies to protect pubs from development. Southwark Council has made clear the importance of pubs in terms of their contribution to the historic character and social fabric of an area. For well over 200 years the Beehive has played an important role in Walworth as a place that local people can meet and socialise.
  • Southwark Council has created policies that prevent the loss of pubs as they recognise that this causes a loss of local community which supports social and community cohesion and a reduction in local character and distinctiveness. The Beehive is important to local people and contributes hugely to the character of West Walworth – an area which is characterised by high density housing but with relatively few amenities for people locally.
  • The Beehive is an important local landmark in West Walworth which many people know and value and want to keep. As an open pub it is a valuable heritage asset that links the area with its historic roots both to the time when the area was market gardens south of the City and also to the birth of cricket in London and the formation of Surrey County Cricket Club.
  • The Beehive is one of the few places locally where people can meet socially as groups large and small and to get to meet and know others from the area.
  • The business is viable and can flourish in the longer term. Until recently the owners were asserting that the business was strong and could easily be grown further. There are many people locally who would be keen to contribute to making a success of the Beehive if it was offered to the community.
  • The Beehive has twice been successfully designated as an Asset of Community Value which underscores its importance to the local area. Southwark’s planning policy is clear that a pub having an ACV is an important factor when assessing a planning application and this should be a major ground for rejecting this application.

If you would like any more detail on any of the above, the full objection that the Walworth Society has submitted appears below. Any questions do not hesitate to get in touch via the Contact Us box on the Home page. Thanks for all your help!

5 thoughts on “Campaign to Save The Beehive Pub

  1. I’ve lived in Wales since late 2008, but for seventeen years prior to that, when I was living just off East Street market, The Beehive was my local, and I was there very frequently, either alone or with friends. As a currently-active CAMRA member now, some of the details above about ‘Asset of Community Value’ very much resemble wording used in other, CAMRA-backed campiagns to save pubs. CAMRA is not just about real ale, important though that is!, but very much a pub-protection campaign/society too. Have the local VAMRA branch been involved at all? Check the ‘London Drinker’ magazine, publicity needed in that outlet for definite (it’s always available to be picked up free in The Royal Oak, Nebraska Street, SE1). So if CAMRA people arenlt yet helping this campaign too much, inviting some local members to get involved should help a fair bit. Myself, I will use the link above to lobby Southwark very very soon about this disgraceful news. Good luck, everybody! William of Walweorth (my online identity for at least 25 years! and still going strong despite my residence in Swansea for so long!). xx


    1. Thanks so much for getting in touch William – that is really appreciated. We get great support from Steve at SE London CAMRA and as this plays out will be in touch with him/them some more. Thanks again J


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