Villagers are launching a campaign to fight against plans from the Co-Op to take over a former pub in Brixworth.
The Co-Op wants to demolish the former Red Lion Inn on Harborough Road and build a new two-storey store, with 5,000 square foot of retail on the ground floor and storage and staff facilities on the first floor. There would also be 14 parking spaces for customers.
The plans had previously been submitted before being rejected by Daventry District Council in October last year, but that decision has now been appealed by the Co-Op.
The council said the proposed design was not in keeping with the area, the building makes a ‘positive contribution’ to local conservation, and the proposed parking ‘fell short of requirements’.
But following the lodging of the appeal on May 24, a number of locals have formed an action group to prevent the ‘ill-considered’ development.
A spokesman for the group said: “While a larger supermarket in the village would be an amenity boost, it needs to be in the right location. The Red Lion site is so unsuitable on so many levels. The most important is the Harborough Road is already busy. The old pub is located on a double bend, with parked cars outside China Garden restaurant and the Bulldog and Bear barbers. It is already dangerous crossing the road, the risk will be unacceptable with the volume of traffic created by a supermarket.”
But appeal papers from Edgeplan Ltd, the agent acting on behalf of the Co-Op, state that highway access, parking and servicing have been ‘demonstrated to be perfectly adequate, without causing any obstruction to traffic or danger to highway safety’.
It also pours scorn on the other grounds for refusal from the council. It adds that the building has ‘no historic merit’ and its contribution to the conservation area has been found to be ‘negligible’.
It also defends the design of the proposed store as a ‘suitable compromise between a contemporary design and the local vernacular architecture’.
The appeal papers add: “Three-quarters of residents surveyed in a consultation carried out at the existing store [on Hunters’ Way] said they supported a new Co-Op store and only three people said they would not expect to use it.
“Many said that the existing store was too small for a village which had grown, and they would prefer a larger shop with greater availability of produce which is less congested and easier to get around.”
But the action group is now meeting to form its comments ahead of potential representations to the Planning Inspectorate, and held its first meeting last week at The George Inn, which is virtually opposite the Red Lion site.
The spokesman added: “The Co-Op intends to counter the district council arguments against the original application. They have put a lot of effort into cherry picking facts countering the original complaints but, in essence, nothing in their plans has changed.
“The Co-Op do not appear to be concerned about the detrimental impact on the street scene in the Conservation Area of the village. We can’t just ignore this.
“While we know that the village could do with a better convenience store, it needs to be at the convenience of the village, not just the Co-Op.”
The Co-Op has been approached for comment.