CHESTERFIELD: Protesters war against ‘Tesco town’

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.

Protesters are lobbying against Chesterfield becoming a ‘Tesco town’ - as council leaders bid to take on the supermarket giant.

Chesterfield Borough Council wants the law overhauled to stop pubs being converted in to supermarkets without having to go through the planning system.

The move follows Tesco earmarking three pubs in the last year - the Angel Inn, on Derby Road, the White Horse, at Old Whittington and now plans have been submitted for the Crispin Inn on Ashgate Road.

Angry residents have gathered a petition, against the proposals, signed by over 1,000 people.

Simon Redding, who lives across from the pub, said: “It is a core part of our community and we are appealing to save it.

“This could also put our local shops out of business.

“Tesco is starting to take over.”

Concerned councillors discussed the issue at their last meeting and are waiting for the results of a meeting between Save the Pub group chair Greg Mulholland and Community Pubs minister Brandon Lewis before taking any further action.

The MP has written to major supermarket chains calling on them to stop ‘predatory purchasing’ pubs up and down the country.

Chesterfield borough councillor Terry Gilby said: “If it’s a viable pub it should not be converted. It’s a community facility where people can meet up.

“My fear is we will get even more of these sales as it is a tempting deal for pub owners.There is a limit to how many we can have in Chesterfield.”

Campaigners will be meeting Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins this week to discuss their fears about the Crispin.

Mr Perkins said: “I have serious concerns about the large chains expanding into the convenience store sector especially when they are buying up pubs, vital community hubs, which are already struggling financially at the moment.”

A public meeting is taking place at the Crispin on February 4 from 7.30pm to discuss the issues.

SINCE January 2010 130 pubs nationally have been taken over by Tesco, 22 by Sainsbury’s and a further 54 by other companies including the Co-op, Asda and Costcutter

National planning laws mean supermarkets do not have to apply for change of use when converting pubs.

Jonathan Simpson, spokesman for Tesco said: “We are able to bring former pubs back in to use as a viable business. While some people may not welcome it many others see it as an excellent community store that creates new jobs.”