Concern over supermarkets moving into former pubs
SUPERMARKETS preying on empty pubs is causing concern in the county.
The Gloucestershire branch of Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has admitted there is currently a worry in the pub trade that supermarket behemoths are consuming all available watering holes.
In Gloucester, the former Welsh Harp pub, in London Road, has recently been turned into a Tesco Express Store, while a planning application to build an unnamed convenience store on the India House pub site in Barton was approved on Tuesday.
Gloucestershire CAMRA media officer Martyn Herbert said it is a concern, but their hands were tied.
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He said: "It is something we are aware of, and we are concerned about it. The thing is they don't need to apply at planning for a change of use, so it makes it easy for them to take these old pubs on.
"There is nothing we can do about it."
The issue is not just in the county either. In Bristol, the Bristol and District CAMRA Pubs Campaigning Group is appealing to Tesco to pull out of potential conversions of the Bristol House in Weston-super-Mare and the Foresters in Westbury-on-Trym.
"If it was housing we could stop it," added Mr Herbert.
"There are a lot of empty pubs around at the moment in prime positions. They were built long ago in the middle of densely populated areas so they are very attractive propositions to supermarkets. It is a very worrying time."
Nick Fullbrook, landlord of the Old Bell in Southgate Street, said the "supermarket effect" is having an impact on pubs.
He said: "Supermarkets taking over old pubs is something us licensees are more than aware of. They bring cheap booze into communities and make it even more difficult for pubs to compete. They have ruined off-licences, but we will continue to battle on."