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Time called on Elm Park’s oldest pub as it looks set to become a Sainsbury’s

PUBLISHED: 18:00 15 January 2013 | UPDATED: 18:22 15 January 2013

Local residents and business owners outside the Elm Park Hotel. Picture: Steve Poston

Local residents and business owners outside the Elm Park Hotel. Picture: Steve Poston

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Time has been called on Elm Park’s oldest pub, which is to become a supermarket.

-Built in 1938, not long after the Elm Park estate and the new Broadway Parade.

-Historian Tony Benton wrote in his book The Changing Face of Hornchurch that the site had previously been a play area for children.

-He added that the pub opened later than planned due to the need to remove a 20-foot deep bed of sand before its foundations could be laid.

-The 6,500sqft pub held many events over the years, including a working class comedy night filmed by LWT (now ITV) in 1998 featuring 11 up and coming comics.

A group of residents and traders have launched a petition, objecting to the Elm Park Hotel being “lost to the community”.

The pub, the first to be built in the area after the Elm Park estate was built, has been open since 1938, but will soon become a Sainsbury’s Local store.

Elaine Doyle, of Diban Avenue, is helping to organise a petition against the plans for the Elm Park Avenue pub. She said: “Everybody I know is unhappy about this, we’re quite a close community.

“I know it hasn’t got the best name, but it could have been changed to something for the community, somewhere the old people could have a dance.

“There are already enough supermarkets around here; nobody wants a Sainsbury’s. Where are its staff going to park?”

Owner of the Broadway Food & Wine, Mr Rajendra – known locally as Raj – said that his store will be hosting copies of the petition against the plans.

Derek W said on the Streetlife website: “It looks like we are losing all our local pubs, which one will it be next now the price of beer has gone up? There’s not many left round here.”

Barry said: “The last thing we need is another supermarket or fast food shop and it’s never been overly successful as a pub, can’t really see what would flourish in such a large building maybe just a hotel.”

While Ed H added: “I noticed this week that work has begun on the [nearby] proposed Morrison’s store. Tesco’s cause enough congestion in Elm Park it will be gridlock if Sainsbury’s open there as there is no parking in that area.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “We can confirm our plans to open a Sainsbury’s Local on the site of the former Elm Park Hotel Pub in Hornchurch, subject to securing the necessary consents.

“This will provide a fresh food and convenience offer in a central and convenient location, close to Elm Park tube station.

“The new shop will give local residents increased choice and value and allow them to top up their food shopping without having to travel to the Sainsbury’s supermarket on the High Street in Hornchurch.”

Punch Taverns sold the pub in June last year. A spokesman described it as one of the company’s “less sustainable sites”.

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