Tesco pub move would 'rip the heart out of community'

PUBLISHED: 13:00 13 September 2012

Campaigners handing over the petition to North Somerset Council representatives Robert Payne and John Crockford-Hawley

Campaigners handing over the petition to North Somerset Council representatives Robert Payne and John Crockford-Hawley

Archant

THE fight to keep Tesco out of a former pub in Weston escalated with a public meeting where organisers said the move would 'rip the heart out of the community'.

More than 100 people living in the area around the Bristol House pub in Milton Road attended the meeting on Thursday.

Pub owner Enterprise Inns has applied to extend the pub building and there are now plans to hold a public demonstration when North Somerset Council representatives consider the application on September 20.

The 70-year-old pub was closed by Enterprise Inns in July after they gave the tenants a week’s notice, and the firm has been in discussions with Tesco, which wants to lease the site and turn it into an express store.

A petition against the takeover has now been signed by more than 2,500 people and a public meeting was held at the Vintage Community Church in Hughenden Road on Thursday and was attended by members of the community and district and town councillors.

CAMRA’s Peter Bridle and community member Maggie Crook both addressed the meeting.

Tesco and Enterprise Inns had been invited to attend the meeting but failed to send representatives.

Ms Crook said the takeover plans should act as a ‘wake-up call’ to the communities in Milton and Ashcombe, saying: “A lost pub is a damaged community.”

In the planning application Enterprise Inns says the new extension would be use to add an ‘additional trading area’ and to provide an ‘enlarged catering kitchen’.

It also says that the building’s continued use will be as a public house.

Talking about the application – a move that would be needed for Tesco to take over the site – campaign organiser Mark Thyer urged the community to write to and email North Somerset to object to the plans.

He said: “If Tesco continue to do this the heart’s going to be ripped out of the community when this happens.

“If this does manage to get through planning then as a community we should boycott Tesco. Even a giant like Tesco wouldn’t put up with a loss-making store for long.”

The plans to extend the pub will now be considered by councillors as opposed to officers after district councillor Robert Payne called it before the authority’s South Area planning committee, which will meet at the town hall on September 20 at 6pm.

Despite the ongoing discussions between Enterprise Inns and Tesco, the councillors will only be able to consider the application as an extension of the pub, and not as a plan to turn it into an express store.

Weston Town Council has objected to the application as the authority believes the extension is not in keeping with the current appearance.

Campaigners are planning a public demonstration before the planning committee’s meeting at town hall at 5.40pm on September 20.

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