Chris Clark, a Labour councillor for Croydon, said that there were “questions that need to be answered regarding how two pubs can go up in flames in one night”.
“It’s certainly a coincidence”, he added. “Those fires could have damaged adjoining properties, hurt people, or even killed people”.
Cllr Clark told the Telegraph that planning applications for both pubs had been submitted to the council and there was “an ongoing discussion on whether a pub should be retained on the sites”.
In 2017, the Local Authority Building Control updated guidance on the demolition of pubs. The regulations now state that planning permission is required for a pub to be torn down.
Both pubs had been used by squatters in the past but there is no suggestion anyone was inside the buildings at the time.
Illegal raves and drug taking
Parts of both buildings were destroyed in the early morning fires.
Since closing earlier this year The Windmill had been used for illegal raves and drug taking, according to local residents.
Travellers had also moved into the empty car park earlier this year after the owners allegedly failed to secure the rear car park.
The LFB said that eight fire engines and about 60 firefighters were called to the first blaze, at The Windmill, at 5.44am.
It said: “The whole of the second floor and the roof of the building were destroyed by fire, resulting in a roof collapse. There were no reports of any injuries.
“One of the brigade’s 32-metre turntable ladders was used as a water tower to tackle the fire from above.”
At 6.24am, the LFB was called to the second fire, at the Drum & Monkey, which is a few minutes’ walk from The Windmill.
The Metropolitan Police said: “The fires are being treated as suspicious and a joint investigation is being led between the Met and the London Fire Brigade.
“There have been no reports of injuries on any of the scenes. At this early stage there have been no arrests.”