A community pub has been saved from what was described as ‘corporate greed’ when a planning application was refused by Croydon Council on Thursday (July 5).

The council’s planning committee had considered plans to redevelop The Welcome Inn Public House in Thornton Heath.

The proposal, submitted by Boyer Planning on behalf of the Wellington Pub Company, was for alterations to the building including conversion of the upper floors to provide four one-bedroom flats and conversion of the rear out building to provide a one bedroom cottage.

It would see the footprint of the actual pub reduced by between a quarter and a fifth.

At Thursday’s meeting focus was on a planning policy known as DM21.

The policy aims to protect pubs and comes into play when a venue is proposed for demolition or a change of use if it has the characteristics of a community pub. Ron Terry, speaking on behalf of the landlord of The Welcome Inn, said he is ‘extremely concerned about the future of the pub and his livelihood’.

He said the pub in Parchmore Road has spaces for organised social events including pub quizzes, darts competitions and pool leagues as well as places for children and accommodation for rent.

Before the application was discussed by councillors Heather Cheesbrough from Croydon’s planning department stressed that an impact on the landlord was not a material planning consideration.

Cllr Clive Fraser said: “I think we’re all aware of the number of pubs that have closed over the years because there was no protection for them.

“It went quite quickly, what had been the heart of the community has gone and largely converted into flats.

“What we’ve got here is an application that does not seek to take away the pub totally but seeks to reduce it in size take away the rooms for rent above.

“What we’re getting here is the property market adapting to get around the policy wording and to be truthful it’s guided by one thing and that’s corporate greed.

“It doesn’t care about the community and will get its quick profit out of the flats for sale and then it may or may not have a successful pub after – I doubt it to be truthful.”

But Cllr Muhammed Ali urged the panel to look at the plans rather that what could happen in the future.

He said: “Demolition is not in front of us – we can’t speculate over what will happen in the future.

“The community parts of it are retained and I think we are trying to look too far into the future but I think we should be looking at what is in front of us.”

But Cllr Perry also thought that developments of the pub would see it closed down in the future.

“I think it will be decreasing returns and we will see it closed down.

“I don’t believe that this is in the spirit of DM21 it was designed to protect community pubs. This is a community pub and it’s viable.

“I think this a case where we can reasonably say this is a new policy and this isn’t in the spirit of the policy when we drew it up.”

Cllr Gareth Streeter put forward a motion to refuse the plans which was backed by five councillors to two.