LOCAL RESIDENTS rejoiced as Councillors rejected TESCO‘s plans to turn their local community pub into a supermarket.
The grocery giant has been trying since February to get permission to extend The Victoria and Albert in Seaton Delaval, including the installation of an ATM and air conditioning, but have not been successful. This latest application, blasted by locals as “sheer arrogance”, is a fresh application, the supermarket chain having had their previous application rejected by both Northumberland County Council and a Planning Inspectorate appeal.
In Tuesday’s meeting, attended by both residents and members of the local CAMRA branch, members of the South East Area Planning Committee unanimously voted to reject the latest proposal for the cash machine, making reference to the increased traffic it would cause on an already dangerous blind bend.
The villagers now hope the decision will end the saga, causing TESCO to seek an alternative site.
Family man Stephen Keir has led the village’s effort to keep the pub a pub told The Journal that he was pleased by the Committee’s decision and hoped it would be another nail in the coffin of TESCO’s plans.
“We’re not against development here, it just has to be the correct site. Regardless of who had put an application in for the pub we would have fought it, so we’re not anti-TESCO.
“The road safety concern in the area are not simply going to go away, so I can’t see how it’s possible to implement any sort of plans for a supermarket there.
“But hopefully we can turn a corner and the company might look at other possibilities.”
A spokesman for Tesco told The Journal that the company was disappointed by the outcome of the meeting and would be “reviewing its options on the wider scheme in light of this.”
TESCO do not actually need permission to convert the pub into a shop, as the change is permitted under Northumberland County Council’s rules. This is similar to authorities across the country, as 206 pubs were converted into shops by supermarket chains over the last 23 months.
The All Party Save The Pub Group in Parliament are calling on The Government to introduce new laws that give local people more of a say in the future of local community pubs. Some councils, such as Cambridge City, are already introducing planning policies which make it harder to change the use of or demolish a pub.