New store 'will bring shoppers into the area'
OPENING a Tesco Express store in a redundant pub in Portishead will benefit other businesses in the area, the supermarket giant claims.
Representatives from Tesco met with Portishead Town Council last night to discuss plans to convert the former Royal Oak pub at West Hill into a shop.
The retail giant confirmed earlier this month it had signed a lease on the pub with owners Enterprise Inns and hopes to open in the new year
Because the pub is classed as a retail business, no change of use planning permission is needed.
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However five separate planning applications for minor works to the building, including installing a cash point, new signs and plant including air conditioning and condensing units, have been submitted to North Somerset Council.
It is likely the store will open from either 6am to 10pm or 7am to 11pm, seven days a week, and create 20 new full-time and part-time jobs.
But not everyone is happy a Tesco could be opening on their doorstep, with a number of residents attending the meeting to raise concerns over delivery times and the effect of the new store on existing businesses in West Hill.
Resident and former town councillor Sue Mason said: "There is concern that this supermarket will take away customers from the main shopping area.
"There are double yellow lines outside the pub and when delivery lorries used to arrive they parked at the side. I am sure the supermarket will need more frequent deliveries and I hope the concerns of local people will be taken into consideration."
Currently there is a Costcutter supermarket at West Hill, along with a number of takeaways, hairdressers, a chemist and motor parts store.
Other residents said there had been lack of consultation on the supermarket plan and that work had started on preparing the building before neighbours were told.
Resident Malcolm Kemp said: "We received a letter dated September 7 about the new store, but work had already started on the site in mid August."
Tesco spokeswoman Sophia Akokhia said contractors had initially been told to go into the pub and assess the level of asbestos inside. When they were unable to complete this, they started work on other elements of the project.
Mrs Akokhia said: "This additional work should not have taken place and our contractors have been reprimanded."
Mrs Akokhia said the store would attract more shoppers to the area and the range would be different to that of the Costcutter supermarket.
She added that there would be a maximum of three deliveries each day, which would avoid busy periods and use only Tesco's smallest delivery vehicle.
She added: "The plans will bring the run-down pub back to life.
"Experience tells us that business can benefit from being near a Tesco Express.
"The presence of our staff, customers and CCTV cameras will also act as a deterrent to anti-social behaviour."
A series of consultation meetings are being planned with local residents in the next few weeks to discuss the plans.