I know that it used to be a cinema an’ all that, but surely better use could be made of the space currently occupied by the local Wetherspoons? I can’t be the only one who wants to see it earmarked for total demolition and be taken over by a more positive enterprise.
The Capitol (was ‘Job Seekers Arms’)
Better use maybe, but I don’t see the value in demolishing something that has history and isn’t an eyesore. I’d rather see the bookies go first.
Remember when there was the rumour that Picturehouse were interested?
I think the building itself is fantastic, and would be a real shame to lose it, it does feel like it isn’t being used to its full potential atm. I have a love hate relationship with it as a business though, I like going somewhere where pints aren’t all £5+, and where you can eat a hearty meal for under a tenner, but I’m not a fan of the working practises of the company, and would be v happy to see it turn back in to a cinema with a good bar.
I rather like the Capitol. There is a lot of snobbery about Wetherspoons and chat about the politics of their owner, but ultimately they offer an affordable night out for a lot of people and that is not to be sneered at.
That building is a money pit though and I can’t currently imagine a cinema wanting to take it on. The only way they would make money would be to chop it up into three or four separate screens which would destroy the appeal of the place.
The Spoons App is efficient and the Capitol itself seems to cover the table service for non-app users well. I must admit that if ever full normality returns, I will tend to carry on with app ordering rather than the time consuming scrum at the bar.
It would be nice to have a cinema, but it would be an expensive conversion. I’d rather have the Spoons than an empty building, and overall its good to have a cheaper option compared to the other venues.
What’s the title about?
It’s a bit of an unkind assessment of the place, but as the discussion shows, other opinions do vary.
I believe Wetherspoons have tried to sell the building on at least two occasions but without success. As HannahM says, it’s a money pit and we can be grateful that such a rare building is both listed and in use.
And FWIW I agree about the snobbery surrounding Wetherspoons and the politics of Tim Martin. Many’s the English town where the only decent pint of real ale you can get is at 'Spoons.
Very odd behaviour
I think it’s a shame when a person in business uses their business as a political tool to advance their own beliefs. It can hardly be surprising that the business comes into some grief with the public, or the part of it that is opposed to that political belief.
I agree, but I bet the politics of some of those who run other pubcos would horrify those who vociferously disagree with Tim Martin. But those owners keep shtum, hence they don’t get boycotted…
This is a good point - he owns something like 30% of the company and yet is willing to risk damage to the company to further his own political agenda. The board should be displeased.
Edit: There seems to be a few years of history of criticism of his actions, but the vast majority of shareholders still vote for him. Tim Martin re-elected to board of pub chain JD Wetherspoon
Genuine question - what is his political agenda?
I just thought that he’s a bit of a mouthy character with a particular political belief, as would have any big business boss.
I’d say it appears his agenda includes (pro) brexit and (anti) lockdown ideas.
Well he is very pro Brexit, and very anti lockdown.
Ultimately, if you one doesn’t like Tim, then don’t go into a Spoons! Though that won’t cause Spoons to collapse as it offers cheap booze/food which is popular with a wide range of people.
There does seem to be a lot of strong views around Spoons pubs. Personally I didn’t visit them as it’s not somewhere I would like to socialise and I leave it at that.
Ultimately it’s an open market and if someone could come up with the means and gumption to buy the building they can do with it as they see fit. Seems to be a common line re Spoons sites; “the area deserves better” yet in reality I suspect it turns over more revenue than any other business on the high street in Forest Hill which speaks volumes.
As it’s a grade 2 listed building anyone who buys the building can’t just do as they see fit with it! There are a lot of rules and regulations covering what alterations can be made. I think that’s one of the main reasons why it was empty for so many years after it stopped being a bingo hall and probably why Wetherspoons have had problems trying to sell it.
Very true. What I was referring to is commercially it has an A3 licence (sale of alcohol without a meal) so from that point of view you could have almost any commercial use- within planning regulation. You would struggle however to turn a bookshop into a pub with most councils.
The user classes have all just changed - so a bookshop, which would’ve previously been A1, is now E, which could change to [what was] A3 under permitted development.
By the way, I believe drinking establishments came under a different UC to A3.
Perhaps, but isn’t his point more about how the most in-demand businesses survive, so the fact it has been there for so long means there is demand for a spoons (and less about regulations).
What a nasty sneery thread title. You no doubt think you’re a bit of a comic. Nah, just someone who thinks they are superior to others After leaving education, I was employed continually for 35 years. During lockdown I have claimed Job seekers allowance for the first time ever. Belittling others work status is just trashy. Some people have been through hell.
I was merely pointing out to JM that the rules had recently changed.
I’m all for Wetherspoons.
I think it’s a great asset to the town because not everyone can afford the stupid prices being charged by the trendy places - AND it’s kept that building alive.
Forest Hill has a very mixed population and The Capitol, for those who are happy to acknowledge that their neighbours exist, is a true melting pot - but its big enough to keep the riff-raff at arms length if you feel the need to (which is another good reason to use the app) };^)~
Pubs are in a class of their own… Also Lewisham has strong pub protection policies.
the one thing this forum doesn’t have enough of is sneering classism. great thread
It would be great to see bought by Mercato Metropolitano or similar with lots of foody start ups and small breweries. Plenty of space for it and same/similar use
Turn it into a Waitrose!
You could have almost the same conversation about the Brockley Jack (I know it’s SE4 and not SE23, but it’s actually closer to all of us who live in Honor Oak Park).
Another great building (with a theatre which I’ve not been able to check out yet). But run by Greene King.
I think the Capitol works fairly well as a pub. I doubt a listed building such as this could be converted into a supermarket, but I don’t think it would take too much work to convert it into a softplay centre, like Gambado was in Lower Sydenham.
I feel like a soft play centre in Forest Hill would be very popular!
Some creative climbing thing could probably make use of the height and upper level too.
Just to clarify, “turning it into a Waitrose” was 100% a joke.
There was this April fools story a few years back about the Ritzy in Brixton: Ritzy Cinema to become ‘Little’ Waitrose supermarket | Brixton Blog
Apart from the fact that Forest Hill and the Capitol is way too small-fry for these people, would you not be concerned about the viability of Forest Hill’s small independents, all of whom would then be left out on the periphery?
That’s how I read it.
It seems like there are too many people who yearn for a Waitrose (or M&S Food, or Cullens used to be another one) as a [snob’s] badge of honour for the area they live in.
And they could return to screening blockbuster movies on to the climbing wall so that you would feel like you are climbing the Empire State Building.
I think places like mercato attract net new people to the area from surrounding areas, rather than being for locals necessarily, so without any analysis whatsoever i was thinking it would be value add to forest hill on the whole
A mixed reality climbing wall - I love it! Spiderman would be good
Unfortunately the circle seating level is unsafe to use and I believe it would cost an absolute fortune to repair. Which is a shame. Beautiful building.
You may be right.
But my gut feeling is that Forest Hill is too small to sustain a big player like that as well as ‘our own’.
We have quite a few good and interesting independents dotted around the town and hopefully there will be some more newcomers who will fill some of the gaps and join those dots up.
If an attractive station redevelopment ever becomes a reality - with better accessibility between Perry Vale and the ‘front’ side of Forest Hill - that will be beneficial to everyone here.
Anyone on here surprised that Wetherspoons are criticised for using “their business as a political tool to advance their own beliefs” yet MM would “add value” despite having AMMbassadors to promote “Thought Leadership”?
I’m not sure i understand this point - the forum is a mix of different users with different views, it’s not surprising if they are incongruous.
A sandy beach by the sea?
I think it’s quite rare to see any business be used as a such a prominent platform for a single owners’s political beliefs as wetherspoons was in recent years, I can’t think of a single other example that comes close, and I don’t think the MM example does, I’m not even sure what stance you’re suggesting they’ve promoted?
Many of our national newspapers?
Ha fair play! I suppose I was thinking of non media businesses, where the product isn’t already their views!
My point is that Spoons’ owner is criticised for having a political platform; MM has a political platform too, promoting, among other things, food for all, climate action, preservation of the environment and community inclusion. Both are equally political but MM is more aligned with the current orthodoxy so above criticism whereas Spoons…
Richard Branson and other airline moguls? Gina Miller? And that plumbing chappie? And lots of rich business owners that just want cheap labour.
I know they all hold political views too, but I can’t say any of them handed me a pamphlet with my pint (or flight ticket, or plumbing invoice) setting out in great detail their personal political views. I think that’s what set whetherspoons aside here, the extent to which Martin used the business to promote their political views. You could quite happily fly virgin without knowing Branson’s views on anything, or go to a fullers pub blissfuly ignorant on their position on politics, and evidently I’ve not picked up on MMs stance on political issues despite going there several times. Taking an example from the same side of the spectrum, I don’t recall that Dyson was hiding leaflets in his Hoover’s to lobby his customers, despite being himself outspoken on the same issue as Tim Martin (which I don’t take any issue with at all, people should express their views if they like). Alas, the same cannot be said for spoons. If I recall correctly even the spoons board weren’t happy with the lengths Martin went to.
I think the Wetherspoons guy was quite open about Brexit. He said he wanted to be able to import cheap booze from outside the European Union.
Curiously, I think a lot of us thought we were going to get cheap booze from Europe when we joined the Common Market!
Personally I don’t generally take issue with business owners holding or expressing their own views, that’s up to them, and I can usually choose whether to be their customer or not.
The thing I think is unfair is that many of the staff will not have taken jobs at a pub expecting to be serving political promotion along with the drinks, and knowing how emotive these subjects can get, that could put staff at the awkward end of drunken arguments. It’s not always easy to choose a new employer or change jobs in a hurry.
Either way, I don’t dislike The Capitol myself and have had good times there. I can’t really see any viable other uses for the space, other than maybe a nightclub - but I think we are too far out for that.
Where is this criticism you refer to though?
Is it this?