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Tesco plan for pub site causes controversy
2:45pm Wednesday 27th June 2012 in News
PLANS to open a new Tesco store on the site of a former pub have been criticised.
A Tesco Express is planned for Graham’s at the Woodpecker, the pub and restaurant on the corner of Hanging Hill Lane and Hutton Drive, in Hutton.
The premises has been run as a pub under various guises in recent years, from the Hungry Horse to Maxwells and the Woodpecker.
After ceasing trading less than a year ago, the supermarket giant is set to seize the opportunity of taking over the site.
As many as 20 jobs could be created and the store could be open by November.
However, Alan Braid, Tory councillor for Hutton Central, said residents in his ward have expressed uncertainty, particularly regarding an increase in traffic.
He added: “It hasn’t gone down too well, as residents knew nothing about it.
“It was a bit of a surprise and it looks like the Berlin Wall has been put up there at the moment.
“It is good if Tesco is going to speak with residents, but it should really have done that before moving on to the site.”
Permission is not required to convert pubs into retail use premises, but a Tesco spokeswoman said the chain will be speaking with residents and will submit minor planning applications in the next fortnight.
She added: “It is early days for us at the site but we have taken over the lease and had a site meeting on Monday to assess what needs to be done.
“We will be sending letters to residents to ensure we get their feedback as we are aware residents often have concerns about deliveries. We will undertake a risk assessment so ensure deliveries do not coincide with the school run and create traffic problems in the area.
“We have found Express stores can actually reduce traffic, not create it, as they stop people using their cars to travel to other shopping areas.
“We think it’s a great location and the store would be busy and popular.”
Mr Braid added: “It seems like significant external changes would be needed so we will watch closely and hopefully the council will get a chance to debate any changes.”