Suffolk/Essex: Camra hits out as it is revealed 208 pubs have been converted into Tesco, Sainsbury’s and other supermarket chain stores

Pubs in Ipswich have been turned into shops. Tesco in Norwich Road.

Pubs in Ipswich have been turned into shops. Tesco in Norwich Road. - Credit: Archant

Seven pubs across Suffolk and north Essex have been converted into supermarkets over the last two years – four in Ipswich – and Camra has issued a warning that retail chains are still targeting them despite local opposition.

Across the country 208 pubs have been converted into supermarkets since the start of 2012.

In Ipswich Tesco has taken over the Heathlands on Foxhall Road and the Emperor on Norwich Road. Sainsbury’s has taken over the Golden Key on Woodbridge Road and the Co-op is redeveloping the site of the former Three Jolly Sailors in Handford Road.

Elsewhere pubs have been lost in Clacton, Dovercourt, and Lowestoft as supermarket chains bid to expand their network of convenience stores.

CAMRA chief executive Mike Benner said: “The big supermarket chains appear to be targeting pubs for conversion, despite the fact that these pubs are often profitable and popular.

“This behaviour shows a remarkable disregard for the wellbeing of communities that face losing their valued pubs – leaving local people powerless to step in.”

Ipswich council planning spokeswoman Carole Jones said there was no need for companies to apply for planning permission to convert a pub into a supermarket.

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She said: “I think the issue is that pub businesses look at the economics and feel they can get a better return by handing them over to a supermarket.”

Some had been designated as an “asset of community value” but this usually meant any conversion could only be delayed.

A Tesco spokesman said: “We have brought a number of former pubs back to life by transforming them into convenience stores.

“These stores provide a valuable service to local communities, create jobs for local people and often ensure empty or derelict buildings do not fall into disrepair. ”