Steve Keegan, founder of London-based brewer and pub operator, Late Knights, has told M&C Report the company will open five sites in the next 12 months – taking it to 10 in total.

Keegan said he hopes to open the pubs before work starts on ambitious project to create a pub/bakery/café/cinema complex with a community group in Lewisham.

The company will receive a decision on its planning application for a site in Penge today and Keegan said that if it was successful the site could open within three months. An application was also submitted this week for a site Sydenham and the group has agreed to take on a shop unit next to Carshalton Beeches for a café/bar concept. Keegan said bids were in on two other sites in south east London.

He said: “I’d like to stretch them out over the year. With Sydenham we have a place close to the brewery and we’re planning to go down a similar route to what we’ve done before. The locals say they want us there so we don’t foresee any major problems, but you never know. I’d like to get it open for summer because it’s got a nice outside area.

“Carshalton should be a good area but we have no experience of the licensing in that area. We’re doing something a bit different there and I’m envisaging a 50/50 wet/dry split.

“South East London is where we’re focussed at that. If something came up in Brighton or Kent we wouldn’t say no but ideally we would keep everything fairly central. It’s an old school pub brewery format.”

Keegan said Phoenix Community Housing – its partners on the £3.8m project to transform the Grade II listed Fellowship Inn – were currently doing community outreach work in the area and it would probably be six to eight months before Late Knights got to work.