This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 25/05/2018.
Thornton Heath’s Wetherspoons pub The Flora Sandes to be replaced by 24-hour gym
Efforts to save the pub on Brigstock Road have failed and Pure Gym have been given planning permission.
Hopes of saving a beloved community pub in Thornton Heath have been dashed as plans have been approved for a 24-hour gym in its place.
The Flora Sandes pub will make way for an all-hours gym despite efforts to spare the watering hole, which closed earlier this month.
Loyal locals in the community had campaigned against the closure of the Wetherspoon pub on Brigstock Road, opposite Thornton Heath station.
A petition demanding the pub be saved gathered more than 3,000 signatures and was presented to Croydon Council.
However, this made no difference – with the pub chain claiming it had to shut for “commercial reasons”.
And following the closure of the pub, it will make way for a 24-hour Pure Gym after the council approved a planning application on Tuesday (May 22).
The decision has left regulars reeling.
One local, Jack Arthey, is devastated by the loss of a pub which he believes was central to the community.
The 68-year-old from Thornton Heath said: “It’s sad for Thornton Heath that a community pub is being taken away from us.
“That is really sad.
“A 24-hour gym is not going to help. It makes you wonder.
“This has already left a hole in the Thornton Heath community.
“People are finding it difficult and don’t know where to go.
“You are going to see a lot of them [locals] at a loss. People are just going to start drinking at home I think, but then they’re not getting out. In the pub, you have a natter with whoever is about.
“There is nowhere else around for a nice quiet pint.”
Mr Arthey headed a campaign to try and save the Thornton Heath Wetherspoon from vanishing forever, with the petition being presented to Croydon Council on January 30.
However, pub giant JD Wetherspoon was reportedly “not receptive” to the idea of the pub remaining open.
The planning application from Pure Gym states: “The current planning application will enable the application site to be occupied by Pure Gym, the UK’s largest gym group with over 200 outlets.
“The gym will provide a variety of facilities including an extensive range of cardiovascular equipment, free weights, stretch areas and studios for classes, together with personal training services.
“Pure Gym operates 24 hours, seven days a week to provide round the clock access to fitness facilities, including for shift workers and those that work unsociable hours.”