CHESTERFIELD: Campaigners step up fight for the local pub

NDET 15-1-13 RKH 4 Local residents unhappy at plans to make the Crispin pub into a Tesco store.
NDET 15-1-13 RKH 4 Local residents unhappy at plans to make the Crispin pub into a Tesco store.

Campaigners lobbying to save their local have come up with a list of suggestions to keep the pub open.

But the owners say it is too late for the Crispin Inn and the deal with Tesco is still going ahead.

Around 150 people packed a meeting at the pub on Ashgate Road, in Chesterfield, to discuss plans for its future.

Ideas including making the pub more family friendly, serving food, fixing the play area and offering more real ales were put to James Croft managing director of Enterprise Inns, the venue’s owners.

Simon Redding, of Save the Crispin Campaign, said: “He was questioned at length about why the company would choose to do this to a well-loved community facility.

“They have appeared to take a decision without any community consultation or involvement.”

He added: “Mr Croft did say he would arrange a meeting with the operations director and if Tesco was willing to pull out of the lease they would reconsider.”

But a spokesman for Enterprise said they had already entered in to an agreement with the supermarket giant, adding: “James Croft, attended the community meeting and confirmed to campaigners that Enterprise has entered into an agreement to lease the Crispin to Tesco.”

He added: “It is our preference that our pubs continue to trade as pubs. However, there is a high density of quality licensed premises in the immediate vicinity and we were unable to establish a viable future for the Crispin.”

But Mr Redding said he did not feel the Crispin had been given a chance and the pub had actually been leased to Tesco before residents were informed or consulted.

He added: “Residents will be gutted that Enterprise will not reconsider. The pub is the life blood of the community.”

The move to convert the Crispin follows the Angel Inn, on Derby Road and the White Horse, at Old Whittington also converting in to Tescos.

Chesterfield councillor Howard Borrell has invited Greg Mulholland, chair of the Save the Pub group, to give a talk in Chesterfield in April about the future of the pub trade.

CAMRA and publicans will also be invited.

He said: “We’ve tied to book the Crispin for the meeting. In the circumstances they are unable to take the booking until the future is firmed up so the venue is still to be firmed but it is still quite a coup to get such a big name to Chesterfield.”

James Croft declined an interview with the Derbyshire Times and the company was unable to reveal how many of its pubs have been converted in to supermarkets or how much Tesco is paying for the Crispin.