Campaigners in Somerset are celebrating after a pub which was destined to be converted into a Tesco Express was re-opened this month.
After the Bristol House Inn, Weston-Super-Mare, closed in the summer, Tesco announced plans to extend the building to accommodate a new store.
In response to local opposition to the plans, the Save the Bristol House Inn campaign raised concerns over the potential impact on local businesses and traffic, and set up a petition which attracted nearly 3,000 signatures, adding to 160 letters of objection. It also created a highly effective and informative Facebook page.
Councillors then rejected the planning application in September, citing traffic and road safety issues. Local Spar retailer Mark Canniford, who sits on the planning committee, helped influence the decision. “I simply based my argument on noise and disturbance to the neighbours,” he said. Tesco subsequently confirmed that it would “not pursue [its] interest in the site”.
Campaign spokesman Mark Thyer said: “The councillors did us proud with their unanimous rejection of the application in its entirety and I would like to thank them for that. They listened to their residents, saw through the plans and did the right thing.”
Following further pressure from the campaigners, owners Enterprise Inns re-opened the pub on December 1, bringing in new operators who are urging locals to support the Inn to achieve a turnover of £4,500-£5,000 per week.
Mark added: “It just goes to show that pubs can be successful if landlords invest a bit of money in them. I’d like to congratulate Enterprise Inns for giving the Bristol House Inn another chance.”