Gavin Stamp explains why he thinks The Greyhound must survive as a pub.
The Greyhound Public House at Sydenham may not be listable as a building of architectural or historical importance by the national standards maintained by English Heritage but it is certainly of architectural and historical significance at a local level and undoubtedly of great importance as a landmark. Buildings can be of immense topographical significance while being of no architectural distinction, and places like Sydenham need conspicuous centres, or nodes, to articulate the continuous built up area.
This part of Sydenham, Cobbs Corner, is such a centre, formed by the junction of Kirkdale and Westwood Hill and by the presence of the railway station. It is marked by the dome of the Cobb’s Corner building but given a sense of openness, of place – like a small-scale village green – by the Greyhound and its forecourt.
This will be lost if the pub is replaced by a block of flats coming right up to the road. The character of Cobb’s Corner will be further undermined by the fact that such a block will be private whereas the Greyhound, by its nature, is to a degree a public building and the space in front a public space.
The demolition of the Greyhound would spoil the character of this part of Sydenham and represent the significant loss of an important landmark. Surely it would be possible to build on the unnecessarily large car-park to the side and rear while keeping the Greyhound itself as a public house.