December 7 2013 Latest news:
by matt bunn
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
CONCERNS have been raised over the future of a popular Ipswich watering-hole after it emerged Tesco plans to convert it into a shop.
The supermarket giant has taken on the lease of the Emperor Inn, in Norwich Road, from Punch Taverns after the site was put on the market last year.
Planning permission is now being sought from the borough council for minor alterations, an extension of the first floor and car parking provision.
People living in the area fear the move will have major implications for other businesses.
Councillor Andrew Cann said: “Lots of community groups use the meeting room there and there is not much opportunity to meet elsewhere in the area.
“There are several shops that are in direct competition and would close because Tesco would take all the trade.”
A committee has been set up by pub regulars and groups to look at ways of saving the pub.
Rebecca Moss, a member of the committee, said: “It (the pub) is a part of the community.
“It has been in a bit of a sorry state since the summer, but it is still open and a lot of regulars are using it.”
Tesco want to open the new store, a Tesco Express, this summer and estimate the shop would employ about 20 people.
A spokesman said: “In our experience, the stores provide a welcome lift to local shopping areas, bringing more people out to shop. We are always keen to meet local residents.”
■ What are your thoughts on Tesco’s plans? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.