planning application has been submitted to turn a historic pub with prime site premises on Thornton Heath High Street in to a parent assessment centre.

The controversial plan is for The Thomas Farley Public House which was sold off  to Iconic Properties Ltd  which is turn part of the Golfrate Property group, based in Wimbledon and owned by an Isle of Man Trust. 

The former pub has already been carved up in to a 10 bed HMO with seven flats and now its owners want permission for change of use for A3/A4 to to D1 but the pub is locally listed by the council because of its history and character which affords some protection.

The Farley has sat empty since being purchased in July 2016 by Iconic, despite interest from trendy pub chain Antic. In 2017  a planning application was approved for continued use of the ground and lower ground floors as pub and social hall and conversion of the upper floors for flats – indicating the pub was likely to reopen soon with Antic due to sign the lease.

The pub didn’t reopen but the upper floors were converted in to seven flats with the rear of the building recently receiving retrospective approval for the retention of a 10 bed HMO including using the billiards room.

Twice in the application, the applicant repeats anecdotal reports that the pub had become prey to drug dealers and contributed to anti-social behaviour within the locality, which one regular told The Chronicle was not true.

The applicant goes on to state: “The purpose of the centre would be to assess whether parents have the necessary skills and capabilities to look after their children; with a view to providing them with the necessary support and guidance to move forward in their lives.” 

It mentions the centre would require OFSTED registration but not who would run it.

It goes on to say: “A number of users of the centre are already resident in the HMO unit within the adjacent building. Creation of the parenting assessment centre at this location will provide a convenient location for social workers and other care staff to meet the needs of the HMO residents. Whilst the units will remain as independent, this close proximity will increase efficiency and utilisation of staff time both those employed privately and through various statutory bodies) and further will increase the take up of support services being offered to parents thereby enhancing the life opportunities of the children and parents involved. “