Campaigners celebrate as Tesco scraps pub plans

CAMPAIGNERS in one Weston neighbourhood are celebrating after Tesco scrapped plans to turn a community pub into an express store.

The decision – which has been hailed as a victory for David against Goliath – came after members of North Somerset Council voted to reject plans to extend the Bristol House pub in Milton Road.

The proposal by pub owners Enterprise Inns was ostensibly to extend it for an ‘additional trading area’ and ‘enlarged catering kitchen’ but in reality would have allowed Tesco to develop the store if approved.

But following the refusal of the application Tesco has decided not to pursue the development of the site.

The pub was closed by Enterprise Inns in July as the firm opened negotiations with Tesco about turning the site into an express store.

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But the community around the pub rallied together and a petition against the development of the site as a store gained 2,800 signatures while Weston’s former MP Lord Cotter wrote to the supermarket giant urging it to halt its plans for the site.

Although councillors were only able to consider the application as one for an extension of the pub, as opposed to its use as a Tesco store, they rejected it at a planning committee meeting on September 20 on the grounds it would constitute overdevelopment at the site, may cause traffic problems and that there was inadequate space for parking.

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Following the hearing, a spokesman for Tesco said: “We do not own this site and had not taken a lease.

“We had said we would be interested in the site should planning permission be given.

“As planning permission has not been given, we are not pursuing our interest in the site.”

He added that the firm was not currently looking at any other site in Weston.

Mark Thyer, who has co-ordinated the No Tesco campaign, described it as ‘great news’, but added: “Although Tesco will not be opening a store on the site of the Bristol House, it is still closed. The campaign is still active and will not give up until the pub re-opens as a pub to serve the community once more.”

Reacting to the news, Liberal Democrat councillor John Crockford-Hawley said: “I’m sure that local shopkeepers will now breathe a sigh of relief and get on with their business of running local shops for local people.

“David has beaten Goliath - there can’t be many instances in the UK where a giant supermarket has been stopped dead in its tracks.”

A spokesman for Enterprise said: “We are continuing to review our options for the site. We are in discussion with members of the local community at the moment.

“No restrictions will be applied to the future of the site.”

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