Residents in Seaton Delaval are unhappy with plans to turn their local pub, the Victoria and Albert Inn, into a Tesco's. Pictured Stephen Keir with residents
VILLAGERS cheered as councillors again rejected Tesco plans that would see their community pub turned into a supermarket.
For almost a year the grocery giant has been trying to get the green light to extend the Victoria and Albert in Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, and install a cash machine and air conditioning,.
It returned with fresh applications after seeing its first attempts rebuked by both Northumberland County Council and a Planning Inspectorate appeal. But members of the south east area planning committee voted unanimously to turn down the latest ATM proposal, saying it would lead to increased traffic on an already notoriously dangerous blind corner.
Residents now hope the decision could mean an end to the saga, and that the firm will look at alternative sites.
Yet the village is guaranteed at least one new supermarket after planners also unanimously approved Seaton Valley Co-op proposals for a new store and petrol station, with the creation of 60 jobs.
Father-of-two Stephen Keir, who has led efforts to keep the pub a pub, said he was pleased by the councillors’ decision and hoped it would be another nail in the coffin of Tesco’s plans.
“The fact that the Co-op plans have gone through without any major objections shows that we’re not against development here,” he said. “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 it’s not that we’re anti-Tesco either.
“The road safety concerns in that 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.”
Tesco does not need permission to turn the pub into a shop, as such a change is allowed under council rules. The same is true for much of England and nationally between January 2010 and November this year 130 pubs were turned into Tesco stores, 22 into Sainsbury’s and 54 were converted by other supermarket chains including the Co-operative, Asda and Costcutter.
The new Seaton Valley Co-op and petrol station will be built on currently undeveloped land, on a long, straight stretch of road, near the village’s new Wheatridge Park estate.
Company chief executive Deryck Storey said it was a supermarket that had been needed for a long time.
The new 900sq m store, alongside an eight-pump petrol-filling station with kiosk, could lead to up to 60 new jobs for the area, the planners heard.
A spokesman for Tesco said the company was disappointed by the outcome of the meeting and would be “reviewing its options on the wider scheme in light of this.”