Petition launched against Young's plans for Spring Grove pub in Kingston

Spring Grove locals fear owners Young's are trying to force them out with the new plans

Spring Grove locals fear owners Young's are trying to force them out with the new plans

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter

Punters have started a petition to 'save' a Kingston pub after owners Young's announced redevelopment plans.

Regulars fear the Spring Grove in Bloomfield Road will be turned into a little more than a restaurant after the brewery cancelled the pub's sports channels subscription and proposed adding a new kitchen and dining area.

Bob Ivey, who has been a Spring Grove regular for 20 years, said the plans were "wildly out of kilter" with what punters wanted.

He said: "Like most of the friends I meet there, we don’t mind redevelopment at all but we do object to being forced out of it on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, as we cannot watch our favourite sports in a safe pub anymore.

"As a backstreet local the football, cricket and rugby crowds the pub attracted were mostly locals and were well-behaved.

"It's not going to be the same pub."

Similar changes to other nearby pubs had resulted in losses of trade, he said.

Young's operations manager Helen Moon said the changes to the Bloomfield Road favourite were "in line with what we tend to do when we develop pubs."

She said: "We're looking to invest some money into the pub because it is a little bit tired.

"A lot of residents were worried we want to turn it into a restaurant.

"We are looking to create a fantastic dining area but that will sit alongside the pub."

Worry was first seeded when the pub's subscription to Sky Sports was canceled earlier this month, due to high costs.

Miss Moon added: "I would need to pack it full of people to hit a sales number that would make the investment in Sky worth it.

"We believe it won't be missed once we create something special."

Asked whether the TV would ever return, she said: "I'm not saying never."

Lib Dem Grove councillor Stephen Brister said creating another gastro-pub in the area was not necessary.

He said: "That used to be my local - it's the pub I go down to, to watch rugby and meet up with mates.

"It will be a big loss to the community.

"I like the fact that the Spring Grove had an interesting mix of people in there."

An online petition set up this week opposing Young's plans has so far attracted 50 signatures. 

Comments (6)

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9:38am Thu 28 Aug 14

MillieMac says...

Fullers have done it to the Prince of Wales in Surbiton and it's awful.
Fullers have done it to the Prince of Wales in Surbiton and it's awful. MillieMac
  • Score: 0

10:42am Thu 28 Aug 14

DB says...

The breweries have got to realise that people still want to have some pubs that are drink-led where they can go and watch sport and play pool/darts. I realise that is unfashionable now compared to the gastropub model, but surely there needs to be some balance?

Pubs like the Antelope and Grove in Surbiton are much improved from removing the sports screens and changing their offering, and I think that this has added to the atmosphere at the Black Lion which is one of the only remaining pubs in the town centre where you can watch sport.

The Spring Grove is not a town centre pub, and I think it is important it remains as a community hub.
The breweries have got to realise that people still want to have some pubs that are drink-led where they can go and watch sport and play pool/darts. I realise that is unfashionable now compared to the gastropub model, but surely there needs to be some balance? Pubs like the Antelope and Grove in Surbiton are much improved from removing the sports screens and changing their offering, and I think that this has added to the atmosphere at the Black Lion which is one of the only remaining pubs in the town centre where you can watch sport. The Spring Grove is not a town centre pub, and I think it is important it remains as a community hub. DB
  • Score: 0

2:29pm Thu 28 Aug 14

kingstonpaul says...

Pub companies will always argue that the only way to make money is through the food offer. But it's a saturated market in Kingston/Surbiton, and to make food work in this crowded environment, it has to really stand out.
The best way forward for the SG is to build on what it's good at, and maintain its credentials as a 'wet' pub, expanding the beer offer to make it a destination for keen beer drinkers and sports enthusiasts. The Willoughby in Kingston is a good example.
Pub companies will always argue that the only way to make money is through the food offer. But it's a saturated market in Kingston/Surbiton, and to make food work in this crowded environment, it has to really stand out. The best way forward for the SG is to build on what it's good at, and maintain its credentials as a 'wet' pub, expanding the beer offer to make it a destination for keen beer drinkers and sports enthusiasts. The Willoughby in Kingston is a good example. kingstonpaul
  • Score: 0

7:11pm Thu 28 Aug 14

sumbee says...

I feel that Youngs ruined the Grove at Surbiton, the dining was excellent for a month then went raoidly down hill. They completely changed its profile from a local family friendly pub to a trendy bar aimed at students and young professionals. Kicking out time on Friday and Saturday night is now a nightmare, the adjoining streets are filled with a troupe of drunken youngsters screaming and making such a din my child is regularly woken up. Youngs sacked all but one of the staff following the refurb, got rid of the playground and rammed the garden full of dining tables.

I"m familiar with the Spring Grove and its a shame. Although its not a family pub like the Grove, it is a traditional pub which felt individual. It was clearly too unique for this era of fake 'gastro pubs' and its walls will be dubbed with the uniform battleship grey and cream to confirm.
I feel that Youngs ruined the Grove at Surbiton, the dining was excellent for a month then went raoidly down hill. They completely changed its profile from a local family friendly pub to a trendy bar aimed at students and young professionals. Kicking out time on Friday and Saturday night is now a nightmare, the adjoining streets are filled with a troupe of drunken youngsters screaming and making such a din my child is regularly woken up. Youngs sacked all but one of the staff following the refurb, got rid of the playground and rammed the garden full of dining tables. I"m familiar with the Spring Grove and its a shame. Although its not a family pub like the Grove, it is a traditional pub which felt individual. It was clearly too unique for this era of fake 'gastro pubs' and its walls will be dubbed with the uniform battleship grey and cream to confirm. sumbee
  • Score: 0

4:16pm Fri 29 Aug 14

Simon001 says...

I'll give it 6 months at most :/:
I'll give it 6 months at most :/: Simon001
  • Score: 0

6:58pm Fri 29 Aug 14

BlackRocker says...

I always thought Young's were one of the few companies customers could still depend on to provide what the most of its customers wanted (unless there has there been a take-over by venture capitalists - or other money-grabbing capitalists - that I don't know about): decent pub food and a fantastic selection of good beers from a company that had pride in its product. If these two factors are no longer enough to generate a decent profit I think it is a very sad state of affairs, and I, for one, will probably spend more time drinking at home. When I still lived in Kingston, the Spring Grove was my favourite watering hole, and clearly I am not the only person who doesn't want to see it change.
I always thought Young's were one of the few companies customers could still depend on to provide what the most of its customers wanted (unless there has there been a take-over by venture capitalists - or other money-grabbing capitalists - that I don't know about): decent pub food and a fantastic selection of good beers from a company that had pride in its product. If these two factors are no longer enough to generate a decent profit I think it is a very sad state of affairs, and I, for one, will probably spend more time drinking at home. When I still lived in Kingston, the Spring Grove was my favourite watering hole, and clearly I am not the only person who doesn't want to see it change. BlackRocker
  • Score: 1
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