Supermarket chain remains committed to converting struggling Durham pub to convenience store (From The Advertiser Series)
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Sainbury's remains committed to converting struggling Durham pub to convenience store
SAINSBURY’S has insisted it remains committed to converting a struggling pub into a new convenience store.
Some people living in Crossgate Moor, Durham City, say turning The Lodge pub, on the A167 Newcastle Road, would worsen traffic problems and put children’s safety at risk.
They had hoped their protests had been successful when the supermarket giant withdrew its planning application.
But a Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said the withdrawal was due to a timing issue and a new application has now been submitted.
She said the application was unchanged and the company still intended to go ahead with the project.
Bijan Samadi, owner of The Lodge, said in more than 20 years no-one had succeeded in making the pub viable, despite initiatives including opening from 6am to 11pm, offering bed and breakfast and running a car wash.
“A lack of demand has made the premises unviable as a public house or hospitality venture. I am sure a vacant property would not be welcomed by the neighbouring properties or the LPA (local planning authority),” he said, adding: “I feel Sainsbury’s is the best option for the community, ahead of other potential alternatives, including multinational roadside operators, such as KFC or McDonald’s.
“Sainsbury’s will bring an end to uncertainties at the site and provide an appropriate future use which will serve the surrounding community.”
In his letter to Durham County Council, Mr Samadi also said the next best deal he had was from an “ethnic group to form an Islamic school, community centre and mosque”.
However, Roberta Blackman-Woods, MP for Durham City, said there were traffic concerns which would be very difficult to overcome.
“I would like to meet Sainsbury’s to have a discussion about why they think that site is appropriate and to see if we can find a more suitable site for an expansion of their business,” the MP said.
At the request of Neville’s Cross councillors Grenville Holland and Nigel Martin, the final decision will be taken by a council committee, rather than officials.
For more information on the proposals, visit the planning portal online at durham.gov.uk, using the reference 4/13/00573/FPA
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