250 years after the first written reference to a pub called Elephant & Castle in Newington, the most recent hostelry to bear that name is likely to be replaced by a branch of Foxtons estate agents.
The current Elephant & Castle pub on the corner of New Kent Road and Newington Causeway is the successor to the tavern that gave the area its name. The old pub was swept away in the post-war remodelling of the road layout.
The first written record of a local establishment by the name of Elephant & Castle appears in the court leet records of Walworth manor which refer to a meeting at the pub on 21 March 1765.
That document is reproduced in Stephen Humphrey's book on the history of the locality.
The modern pub closed earlier this year when its licence was revoked after a customer was stabbed in the head with a pen with such force that the pen was embedded in their head until it was removed at hospital.
In April, representatives of Foxtons notified Southwark planners that they intend to open a branch of the estate agents chain in the pub.
In their letter to the council, agents Montagu Evans explain that – so long as the pub is not listed as an asset of community value under the Localism Act – they don't need planning permission to change the use of the building from class A4 (pub) to class A2 (finance).
If the pub is not nominated as a community asset within 56 days of Foxtons' request to the council (dated 16 April), then the change of use is automatically permitted.
A branch of Foxtons in the centre of Brixton has been targeted by protesters on at least two occasions.
Southwark planners are currently considering a planning application for a branch of Foxtons in Rye Lane, Peckham. More than 30 comments have been lodged by local residents, most of them objections.