'It could ruin us' warn store owners over supermarket plan for nearby derelict Chesterfield pub

Plans to convert a former Chesterfield pub into a supermarket are being fought by nearby residents.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 11:04 am

Conditional planning permission has already been granted to convert the derelict and boarded-up The Devonshire pub, on Occupation Road, Newbold, into four apartments, which was granted in 2019, but a further application has now been submitted a change of use to a shop/supermarket.

However, more than 50 objections have been submitted to Chesterfield Council, the local planning authority, against the latest proposal, citing increased traffic, as well as that a supermarket is unnecessary, given there is another convenience store almost opposite.

Rajesh and Hetal Patel, owners of the Go Local store, have also objected – as well as submitting a petition of more than 75 signatures opposing the scheme – claiming they purchased the shop, formerly Virk Food & Wine Store, from the applicant, Amrik Virk, and a “restrictive covenant” was applied, “not to use the neighbouring property as a convenience store”.

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A letter from law firm Elliott Mather, their solicitor, to the council, says: “Our client agreed to purchase the property, business and goodwill from the applicant in good faith.

“The applicant’s agreement not to change the use of The Devonshire into a rival convenence store was one of the main factors in our client agreeing to the purchase.”

The couple said they have spent about £100,000 on a “significant refurbishment” on the store and accommodation above.

The letter says: “It is clear the opening of a rival store in such close proximity could cause a significant loss of value to our client’s property and business.”

A planning application has been submitted seeking to convert the closed The Devonshire pub into a convenience store.

Mrs Patel, aged 41, said: “It’s going to ruin us. Customers tell us they don’t need two shops so close to each other.”

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Concerns over highways safety

The solicitor’s letter also raises concerns over highways safety.

Owners Hetal and Rajesh Patel fear their Go Local convenience store business could be ruined if a supermarket is allowed to open on the other side of the road.

It says: “Occupation Road is a fairly narrow one-way street. Given the lack of parking restrictions, it is a concern prospective customers could park outside the development, making Occupation Road even narrower and restricting access not only for residents, but also emergency services.”

However, the proposal has been welcomed by a local councillor.

Coun Gordon Simmons, Dunston ward member, said: “Pleased to see this. The building is an eyesore and has been broken into several times.”

C3 Architectural Planning & Design, Mr Virk’s planning agent, has been approached for comment.

The Go Local convenience store is almost opposite the boarded-up The Devonshire pub.

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The former Virk Food & Wine Store, which has been transformed into a Go Local convenience store by owners Hetal and Rajesh Patel.