Battle against supermarket plan for Romford pub

Local residents and shop owners have signed a petition against The Marlborough Pub, Romford becoming

Local residents and shop owners have signed a petition against The Marlborough Pub, Romford becoming a Tesco. Residents and shop keepers with Cllr Linda Trew, centre, outside the Marlborough Pub - Credit: Archant

A pub is set to be converted into a Tesco supermarket.

Residents say that plans to turn the Marlborough Arms in Mawney Road, Romford into an express store will “kill off the community”.

Councillor Linda Trew (Con, Mawneys) said: “There is a lot of opposition to these plans.

“Everyone in the area helps each other and there is a big community spirit, but if this store opens, we will lose all of it.”

The pub, which is more than 100 years old, is closing on March 5.

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It will be the fourth Tesco store within a square mile in Romford.

Residents have launched a petition, which has already been signed by 300 people against the plans, which they claim will add to the parking problems in the area.

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They are also concerned that it will have a knock-on effect on other businesses in the area and may even force them to close. Cllr Trew said: “There is already an Aldi store opposite and shopkeepers are finding it hard as it is to survive. This new Tesco store is just going to make matters worse.”

Earlier this year the Recorder reported that Elm Park’s oldest pub, The Elm Park Hotel was to be turned into a supermarket.

In 2011, the Cherry Tree pub in Cherry Tree Lane, Rainham was converted into a Tesco store.

Figures from the Campaign For Real Ale, show that more than 200 pubs in the country have been converted into supermarkets.

Jonathan Mail, the head of public relations at the Campaign for Real Ales (CAMRA) said that residents were often left powerless in their fight to save the pubs because of a loophole, which allows pubs to be converted into mini markets without planning permission.

The group is calling on the government to close the loophole to allow communities to save their pubs.

He said: “This is a big issue for us. The supermarket chains can go ahead to convert the stores, but there may be problems around parking and selling alcohol, which residents have little power over stopping.”

Councillor Robert Benham, Cabinet Member for Community Empowerment, said: “It is disappointing that another historical pub in Romford has sadly closed its doors. While we welcome Tesco to the borough, we must also be mindful of the smaller independent businesses that are competing in the same market.

“We must also bear in mind that there is already a Tesco Metro in Mawney Road, and there have been some issues regarding parking and noise nuisance. Any external changes would require planning permission, and the sale of alcohol would need to be considered by our licensing department.”

A Tesco spokesman said: “We are committed to working closely with the local community throughout the process. The store will offer greater value and convenience for customers and provide up to 20 jobs for local people.”

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