A BID to transform a community pub into a Tesco was thrown out by councillors sparking jubilant celebrations from villagers.
Planners said the company had acted “without any sense” by failing to talk to local people before submitting controversial proposals to extend the Victoria and Albert pub. in Seaton Delaval, Northumberland, ahead of buying and converting the popular tavern into one of its Express stores.
The firm told planners on Northumberland County Council’s southeast planning committee that they had no powers to stop them turning the popular pub into a shop as it was “permitted development”.
But speaking in front of the residents, who packed out the meeting at Choppington’s Social Welfare Centre, Coun Barrie Crowther said when presented with a petition signed by more than 2,100 people, the decision “was no longer just a question of planning”.
Yet that did not stop his colleagues from rejecting the application – on the grounds that it would create a noise nuisance for residents and lead to even more traffic around an already heavily congested blind corner of the A192.
Pub manager Marshall Dunn said he was very happy that the community should be able to keep its heart and the outlook for the local was also looking promising.
“Since the campaign to save the pub a lot of local groups have come forward,” he said. “There’s now some talk of SureStart anti-natal clinics, pensioners groups and people celebrating their birthdays all coming to use the Victoria and Albert, which is not something that has previously happened.”
Stephen Keir, leader of the campaign to save the Vic, said he hoped common sense would now prevail and that Tesco would look more suitable sites.
“Tesco seemed to think they could just come in here, shut the pub down and set up with a minimum of fuss,” he said.
“But if they had asked us at the start they would have been aware of the levels of feeling about this.”
“Thankfully the planning committee did gauge the mood and realise that the community aspect does mean a lot.”