Tesco press on with store plan for former Portishead pub
Tesco chiefs say they are forging ahead with plans to open a new Express store in a former pub in Portishead, despite continuing objections from councillors and residents.
Bosses at the retail giant say they still plan to open the convenience store in the old Royal Oak pub at West Hill in the coming months but would not be drawn on an exact opening date.
The news comes after councillors rejected plans to knock down garages behind the building to make way for a car park and to install a cash machine on the outside of the building.
Councillors and residents said the ATM could cause traffic congestion in the area, with people parking on double yellow lines to collect cash.
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Tesco representatives say it is not a necessity to have a car park or cashpoint and their opening plans remain.
Tesco corporate affairs manager Sophie Akokhia said: “A lot of shops don’t have a cashpoint or car park.
“To not have a car park or ATM would not prevent the store from opening. Things are progressing well and we have people on site, but no date has been set for the opening.
“However it is still our intention to open and we will be doing so in the coming months.
“We are confident the store will be popular with local people.”
The retail giant has also applied to North Somerset Council for a licence to allow it to sell alcohol at the shop – a move which has prompted objections from local residents.
Dozens of people have already written to North Somerset Council to object to a licence being granted, saying there are already two outlets in West Hill which sell alcohol.
They also fear a late night licence could increase levels of anti-social behaviour in the area.
Residents had until today, January 7, to lodge their views on the alcohol licence application.
Portishead Tesco Action Group chairman and local resident Paul Dunn said he hoped that if the alcohol licence was rejected by councillors then Tesco would be forced to reconsider its decision to open the store.
Mr Dunn said: “Without a cashpoint, car park or an alcohol licence, surely Tesco would have to question their decision to open at West Hill and perhaps look at opening on the marina where they are needed.
“There are already two outlets selling alcohol at West Hill and we do not need a third.
Local residents have already handed a 2,700 name petition to councillors objecting to the store opening.
They claim the supermarket will attract additional traffic to the site, on a blind bend, and could force other traders in the area out of business
The retailer plans to open the store, which will create 20 new jobs, seven days a week up until 11 at night.
Under current planning legislation, the supermarket giant does not need a change of use permission to use the building as a supermarket.
Tesco bosses estimate the new store will attract around 8,000 customers a week and will benefit the area, bringing additional business to West Hill.