Plans in to demolish New Cross pub The Montague Arms

Plans have been submitted to demolish New Cross pub The Montague Arms with a replacement building containing new commercial space and flats.

The pub closed in early 2018 with a petition reaching over 9,300 signatures requesting the music venue remain as just that after a takeover. Numerous live shows have been held at the pub over the years, and a 1989 NME front cover featured Nick Cave, Mark E Smith and Shane McGowan inside the pub. More recently it hosted Caribou and King Krule.

Courtesy Google

After the 2018 closure it reopened as a sanitised, bland space after much of the interior was removed. Most character was lost.

Demolition and conversion would almost certainly see no late closure forward and no live music return. SE London hardly has much of a live music scene left in many places, with New Cross one of the last areas to enjoy a few venues with late licenses. Growing up I used to travel to New Cross weekly on the 177 as there was little else half decent within miles of home that opened past midnight and had live music or club nights.

Courtesy Google

Now even that is being lost. At the end of December The White Hart saw plans approved to create flats above the pub.

The plan states: “Current Pub on the Ground Floor is not operating for at least 2 years and it is understood that using the premises as pub doesn’t seem viable for businesspeople. However, we reinstate the pub on the proposed design due to its communal value. We therefore reduce the size of the pub and propose a separate office unit at rear.”

New building

To be polite, the replacement building is built to a budget, and not a large one. It loses all of the charm and appeal of the existing building. This is cheap architecture, if it even warrants the term.

It’d be a poor addition to a town if hidden down a backstreet let alone on a prominent spot at the junction of Queen’s Road and Kender Street. The window size is meagre and attention to detail poor.

What is this?

The planning application lists total estimated cost of works as “between £2m and £100m”.

Click to enlarge

The application makes a play of a pub unit but the space is so small it wouldn’t be much of one. A shop or coffee place would be more likely.

Proposed ground floor layout

A company named Tone Design is listed on the application. Googling Tone reveals a winding up order last year.

In terms of design, the application states “The overarching conclusions of this report are that the historic setting of the building and its interior have already been
significantly compromised, thus limiting the significance of the existing building” after the interior was removed in 2018.

It continues: “The former pub has not been designated an Asset of Community Value by Lewisham Council, although the Council has recognized that the building is likely to be of value to local people due to its use as a public house.”

A 1930s photograph in the application’s Heritage Statement shows the exterior in much the same condition now as then.

It attempts to downplay the architectural quality: “Although the pub has some communal value, any building with a history is likely to be considered to have some degree of communal value. In this instance, the communal value is derived largely from the events and music nights that were experienced there. Whilst the building is representative of these valued experiences, it is the nights themselves that
were of greater value than the appreciation of the architecture of the building.”

Click here to view plans.

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14 thoughts on “Plans in to demolish New Cross pub The Montague Arms

  • It is a shame to see another live music venue go in South East London. With the pub space being small it could possibly be a micro pub selling locally produced beers or as you state yourself Murky a shop or coffee bar.

    As always the new homes are welcomed. Will the homes be for sale or for rent?

  • The comedian Jimmy Jones used to appear there most nights with music by the Peter London Sound.

  • It is hard to imagine a less creative solution- this is quite clearly hideous and another example of the ugly vandalisation of our area to the detriment of our communities. We want a livable environments! What is the point of creating such creatively dead ugliness? Rabbit hutches with no opportunity for a community life anywhere in the area. Music venues are vital to the life of an area, to the communities and to our mental health and well being! This very unsympathetic and extraordinarily ugly building will further destroy our heritage which according to the council’s own studies, should be protected!?

    • Couldn’t agree more. If they keep turning our lovely buildings into ugly cement dog kennels where no-one wants to live! What is the point of them? Far better to make what is left of the Montague into a museum to the area of South London where people can visit and see what life was like in that area, or revisit their roots? The Mont had a varied and interesting history and it shouldn’t be left to rot!

  • A beautiful building is going to be replaced by a stack of shoeboxes. Ditch the retail and office space – who is going to want them – and provide more living units.

  • Is there a petition anywhere to fight against this?

    • You can view the planning application online and comment directly to the council. I posted my objection there. If enough people object then they might take notice, although it astounds me that they would even consider granting permission for this.

  • I live opposite and do not look forward to having to look at this turd every day of my life

  • This plan is horrible and The Montague Arms pub deserves to be kept intact as it is a legendary venue and has a lot of character and community history. The community does not wish to have this building plan going ahead. I leave nearby.

  • When restrictions lift we will all be desperate for places to go out and socialise, whether live music (yes please!), drinks with friends or pub meals. How shortsighted this hodgepodge of a plan seems to be when the newly refurbished and much-loved Monty is one of so few such places left.

    I live 10 mins away and would certainly be one such customer

  • quite an ugly building, and a real shame losing the M. Arms as a music venue. Just hoping plans do not get approved.

  • The new design is awful. I think the facade should be retained to acknowledge the heritage value to the New Cross Community.

  • From the external looks of it, the pub building is possibly late Georgian. So much period architecture in New Cross was damaged or destroyed during the Blitz that you’d think the local council wouldn’t want to add to that.
    Frankly, the proposed new build is terrible.
    If it were for social housing purposes then, at a push, I’d accept it begrudgingly.
    Except these properties won’t be.
    They’ll be more “affordable” flats with 1 beds starting at 400K.
    Who actually buys these? I mean I do wonder.
    Hopefully, the impending housing slump will put paid to it.
    But what’s to happen to the building meanwhile?

  • If you look up the owners of when it was a games bar. And those contractors who wish to knock it down. I can imagine they are interlinked somewhere. It was a scam from the start from when it changed hands from its previous setting as a music venue . I dont doubt that the owners who gutted the place was asked to keep it as a bar as a contractual clause.
    Then purposely drive it into the ground until the county court bailiffs start calling….


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