600 sign petition in pub closure row

RESIDENTS of an Ipswich community have today lost their pub - possibly to make way for a new supermarket.

Richard Cornwell

RESIDENTS of an Ipswich community have today lost their pub - possibly to make way for a new supermarket.

Time was called for the last time at The Dales on Saturday night with uncertainty now surrounding its future.

Two months ago the building in Dales Road, a pub for 46 years, seemed set to be extended and converted into a Tesco Express store, despite local opposition.

Nearly 600 people signed a protest petition organised by shops in the Dales Road parade, with residents concerned about traffic and, along with shopkeepers, the impact on the small businesses.

Although Ipswich Borough Council planners could not prevent conversion of the existing pub to a shop, they were recommended to refuse the 152 sq m extension because of its poor design and impact on the character of the neighbourhood.

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The plan by Bedford-based Fine Road Ltd has been withdrawn and the building sold to new owners.

Mandy Jacobs, manager of Blooming Dales fruit, veg and flower shop, said people in the area were very upset at the potential impact a Tesco could have on the smaller shops.

“There was a really good community response to the petition,” she said.

“A lot of people did not want Tesco coming because they were worried how that would affect the local shops - Tesco would sell all the same things we all do and we could not compete - and felt big supermarkets should stay on the outskirts of the town.

“They like the personal service we are able to give.”

Dick Mainwaring, landlord of the freehouse pub, said: “I have been told someone else has bought the pub but I don't know who yet, but I received a call telling me to close immediately and Saturday would be the last day.

“I suppose it still could become a Tesco, another sort of shop or flats. I really don't know.”

No-one was available to comment from Fine Road Ltd.

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