Chesterfield pub could be safe from supermarket conversion

Save our Welly campaigners celebrate.
Save our Welly campaigners celebrate.

A pub could be saved from being turned into a supermarket after council chiefs agreed protection measures.

Chesterfield Borough Council is adding the Wellington Hotel, in New Whittington, to its list of assets of community value and has also agreed to issue a measure which prevents development on the site without planning permission.

Councillor Terry Gilby, the council’s deputy leader and executive member for planning, made the decisions on Wednesday following a high-profile campaign to keep the Wellington operating as a community pub.

Cllr Gilby said: “The fact New Whittington residents presented a petition with more than 1,800 signatures to the council shows clearly how much support the Wellington has in the community. I have taken this into account along with the views of other stakeholders.

“The Save our Welly group has been campaigning to keep the pub as a community facility and I am satisfied that this meets the criteria to add the pub to the council’s register of assets of community value.

“I have also acted on the recommendation of the council’s planning committee that because of the mix of facilities on offer at the Wellington, any potential development would need planning permission.”

Adding the pub to the list of assets of community value means that if the Wellington comes up for sale or long-term lease of more than 25 years, residents will have up to six months to raise the funds to buy the premises before it can be sold on the open market.

Currently pubs can be converted to supermarkets or convenience stores without the need for planning permission – but the decision to serve an Immediate Article Four direction means that a planning application would now be required for such a conversion.

Save Our Welly leader Viky Muddiman said: “We’re delighted. We need to keep this campaign running until we get a cast-iron commitment that the Wellington will continue to be a pub.”

North East Derbyshire MP Natascha Engel added: “I am absolutely delighted for everyone in New Whittington. This result shows people power in action.”