Ipswich: Outrage at Tesco store rumours as Norwich Road pub faces closure

ANGRY residents are today campaigning against rumours that a supermarket giant is set to take over a popular local pub.

The Emperor Inn, in Norwich Road, is understood to be facing closure after the temporary landlords reached the end of a five-year lease.

Since the news of the pub’s potential closure, residents have spoken of their outrage at alleged plans to convert the site into a Tesco Express.

But mystery surrounds the issue after a spokeswoman for the supermarket said they have “no current plans” for the area.

Former barmaid at The Emperor, Yvonne Hall, who is backing the campaign, told the Star its closure would be a “huge loss to the community”.

“We have been told our local pub The Emperor is to be closed to be a Tesco Express,” she said. “It would be a huge loss to the community.”

Fellow supporter Andy McKnight added: “I think it’s awful that Tesco is trying to be the new landlord.

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“We already have a Tesco Express not more than 15 minutes walk from the pub and we have two local Co-ops near the pub. The pub is family-friendly and has amazing regulars.”

Ipswich Borough Council said there have yet to be any planning applications made for any changes to the property.

Tesco spokeswoman Louise Gosling said: “We have no current plans for Norwich Road in Ipswich, However, we are always interested in new sites and will look at any new opportunities as they arise.”

A Facebook group has been set up by the campaigners and has already attracted more than 200 supporters.

A spokeswoman for Punch Taverns, which owns the pub, said the site is on the market but no buyer has yet been confirmed.

“Following a review of the investment required to bring The Emperor up to the standards, a commercial decision has been made to sell the site.

“We appreciate that the potential licensees are very disappointed and we are currently working with them to try and find them another pub.”

n What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to the following adress starletters@archant.co.uk