The Talbot

Having said that I’m looking forward to the developments at my local (but unvisited) pub, The Talbot, I thought I should take a look at who it is that is going to buy the pub.  One of the comment’s at Brockley Central doesn’t give me huge hope that we’re actually going to get an enjoyable pub:

It may sound good, but it’s lamentable that Punch Taverns are behind it. Crap food delivered in big vans from Brake Brothers once a week, fried onion rings and big brewery ethics.

Even before reading this I’d thought I should take a look at what Punch have to offer and came across their corporate goals which reads:

In order to develop our business further, our goals are to:

  • Maximise the overall profitability of every site
  • Optimise our share of the available profit
  • Grow through selective acquisitions

There’s not much about the customer in there at all is there?  And really the only customer they seem interested in is the retailer.

In digging around I see they appear to own Spirit Group, with whom I had some dealings when I was a councillor.

Looking at the types of pub they own, over 60% fall into one or other of these descriptions:

Basic Local
These are community pubs, mostly located in high density residential areas. Trade is focused on regular drinkers and tends to be wet led with little food. Beer, cider and spirits are the big sellers. Most show televised sport. Customers are generally blue collar workers and the proportion of female customers is relatively low.

Mid Market Local
The ‘traditional British pub’ as depicted in television soaps. Mid market locals are mostly situated in middle market residential areas and most offer some sort of food. There may also be themed evenings, quizzes, darts or pool. Customers tend to use the pub to meet friends and relax.

I’ve no idea if The Talbot will come into one of these two descriptions, but it seems quite likely.

Anyway, searching about on the Lewisham planning website I see the pub has had an application approved recently:

Alterations to the front and side elevations and the construction of decking to part of the front garden of The Talbot PH, 2-4 Tyrwhitt Road SE4, together with retractable awnings to the front and side elevations, installation of cast iron bollards and chains to the front boundary line and a new timber bin store to the front.

The planners go on to say:

The applicant is advised that this permission relates only to the proposed alterations as outlined on the approved plans and does not permit the proposed illuminated signage which would require separate advertisement consent.

I wait to see how things turn out, but I’m not as hopeful as I was when I first read Nick’s post.

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About Andrew Brown

I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
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6 Responses to The Talbot

  1. Robert says:

    Do you know The Honor Oak? They too took over a pub with a dubious past (St. Germains), but in this case it had been shut for some years.

    This was done through Punch Taverns, but by being well prepared with a plan and a knowledge of the local market, they convinced Punch to invest in their idea and to create a much better place than a “mid-level local”.

    You can read some of their story here, and see what a marvellous word-of-mouth marketing campaign they got started, resulting in great business from the start.

    If you can find out who might be taking this over you could point them to that thread.

    (I have no link to them, just a satisfied local customer and someone who likes the idea of more good places in the general area)

  2. Andrew

    Of course this kind of thing is going to happen when ‘developers’ move in on something – and I regret to say that a larger and more grotesque – but curiously similar – error is being made with the gateway site.

    The difference is that people are only inclined to engage with something when it may have a more perceivably direct effect on them.

    ‘Doing up’ a pub will have a negligable effect if nobody goes in it at the moment – ‘doing up’ a city centre will have a direct effect – either positive of negative depending on the competence of those involved – on people for miles around – which is more important?

    The council will be happy if people get involved in these more parochial issues and of course this is a good thing – but it is fiddling whilst Lewisham burns.

  3. andrewkbrown says:

    Does that make Steve Bullock Nero? Here’s a bit of the Wikipedia entry:

    Over the course of his reign, Nero often made rulings that protected and pleased the lower class at the expense of the rich and powerful. Nero was criticised as being obsessed with being popular.

    As for me I’m happy to debate the Gateway here and elsewhere, but not at the expense of everything else that I’m interested in.

  4. My bad grammer got the better of me . . .

    The fiddlers I was referring to were the ones that concern themselves with smaller (but none the less important matter) at the expense of the elephant in the room (references to Hannibal not obligatory).

    I’m wondering if (many) councellors certainly don’t want get engaged with the Gateway because there’s questionable political capital to be gained from it – the greens (in their statement) have certainly hedged their bets with a eye on greater gain elsewhere.

  5. andrewkbrown says:

    Hi Robert, no I’ve not been up that way for a bit so haven’t visited the pub, but it sounds promising.

    I guess the thing is whether the landlord has a view on where they think the pub will do best, and can put forward a decent business case.

  6. Pingback: On the Town « Someday I Will Treat You Good

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