Council rejects plans to turn pub into Tesco

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VILLAGERS are celebrating after proposals to turn a pub into a Tesco supermarket were rejected.

Their celebrations could be short-lived, however, as the retail chain is refusing to abandon its plans and is now weighing up its options as it considers its next move.

Northumberland County Council’s south east planning committee has rejected the firm’s controversial proposals to extend the Victoria and Albert pub in Seaton Delaval ready for conversion into one of its Express stores.

Councillors were advised by their officers that they had no powers to stop Tesco turning the pub into a shop as it was permitted development, but they still gave the plans the thumbs-down on the grounds that they would lead to an increase in noise and traffic around an already-busy blind corner on the A192.

Coun Bobby Nixon, of Holywell, told last week’s meeting at Choppington Social Welfare Centre: “From the traffic safety point of view, I am anxious about the potential risk of customers and delivery vehicles parking on the carriageway in front of the proposed store adjacent to a bend of the A192.

“This section of the road is already restricted because of parking on the opposite side over significant periods of the day, associated with a number of retail units and residential terraced properties.

“This is further complicated by the presence of a bus stop and clearway markings.”

A petition signed by almost 2,000 people opposing the plans was presented to the council, as well as 29 letters of objection and another signed by 15 residents of nearby Wallington Court.

Objector Sharon Briggs, of the village’s Swinburn Road, said: “The development of a Tesco Express on this plot will significantly worsen traffic and accident potential due to increased traffic movement, turning vehicles and deliveries.

“It is not necessary to have a supermarket in Seaton Delaval as we are a relatively small village already served well by the Co-operative store and many smaller businesses which have supported the local community for many years.”

Coun Barrie Crowther, of Cramlington Eastfield, said: “If Tesco had the sense, and they do not appear to have any, they should have spoken to the public to find out the best place to have a store.

“We have to listen to that petition and take notice of it. It is not a question of planning as the planning matters are OK. The issue is that Tesco went ahead and did this.”

Tesco is not throwing in the towel just yet, however.

Douglas Wilson, its head of corporate affairs for the north east, said: “We are disappointed at the decision, and we will be reviewing our options.

“The Victoria and Albert site remains our priority at the moment.”