Ipswich: Future of popular pub hangs in the balance

A SHADOW of doubt today hangs over the future of a popular pub after another proposal has emerged to transform it into a small supermarket.

A new planning application, submitted to Ipswich Borough Council, reveals Greene King’s intentions to demolish part of the building before converting the site into a retail store.

The news comes after figures released by the Campaign for Real Ale revealed six community pubs are closing in East Anglia each month.

Landlady Dee Haining, who has been behind the bar at the Woodbridge Road pub for 12 years, claims Greene King has not told her what is happening to the pub.

“The application has put me under a lot of pressure because I know so little about what is happening,” she added. “It’s not just a job for me, the pub is my home as well.”

If approved, the application would also include the part demolition of existing buildings, construction of an extension, alterations and associated parking and servicing.

A planning application to extend the building and turn it into a supermarket was originally submitted last September but was refused. Petitioners collected hundreds of signatures against the proposal, but Mrs Haining said the protesters were not interested in saving the pub.

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“I had people at my front door protesting about a potential supermarket but none of them come in my pub and have a drink,” she added. “That’s the frustrating thing.

“They just don’t want another shop to upset the businesses already here.

“The pub could close tomorrow and they wouldn’t give a damn.”

Campaigner Annie O’Rourke, of Woodbridge Road, said: “For me personally, it’s not about the pub. Our local shops are fantastic and we want to support them.”

A Greene King spokesman said: “We have re-submitted our planning application to address concerns raised regarding our earlier scheme following years of declining sales at The Golden Key in Ipswich.”

It is currently not known which retailer is interested in the site.

n Should the Golden Key become a retail unit? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk

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