Campaigners fighting moves to turn a redundant Weston-super-Mare pub into a Tesco Express have written to the supermarket giant asking it to scrap its plans.
People living in Milton are pressing Tesco to withdraw from negotiations with owners of the Bristol House pub, Enterprise Inns, so they can work with the pub chain to look at ways of re-opening the hostelry to the local community.
The move comes after plans by Enterprise Inns to extend the pub, which closed in July, were thrown out by North Somerset councillors.
Campaigners believe the plans – which would have seen a large function bar extension added – were just a ploy by Enterprise Inns to expand the site ready for it to be handed over to Tesco.
Local residents believe without the planning permission and additional floor space, Tesco will no longer want the pub and now want to work with Enterprise to re-open the inn.
The planning application prompted more than 160 letters of objection with campaigners also collecting a 2,823 name petition against moves to turn the pub into a store.
Campaign leader Mark Thyer said he was delighted the application was turned down by councillors.
Mr Thyer said: “The councillors also did us proud with their unanimous rejection of the application.
“The level of objection to this application was unprecedented and councillors listened to their residents, saw through the plans and did the right thing.
“I don’t know what will happen next from Enterprise Inns, but know Tesco will not want the site unless there is additional building space.
“Enterprise may wish to market the pub to another source, maybe for a housing development, but we will be pointing out that this pub can be a thriving business once again.”
Mr Thyer said the campaign group has already written to Enterprise Inns offering its help in re-opening the pub and had submitted a viability plan.
A meeting is scheduled for this week between campaigners and pub bosses to discuss options for the future of the pub.
Mr Thyer added: “We will keep up the pressure in case there is an appeal against the planning decision.
“We have organised a meeting for this week with Enterprise Inns to discuss how the pub can be re-opened and will take it from there.
“We have a lot of ideas and a lot of support.
“It makes sense to get the pub open again as Enterprise Inns is losing out on rent and profit from beer sales whilst closed.
“The campaign will continue until we see the pub re-open.
“The Bristol House is one of many redundant pubs across the UK which Tesco is currently considering turning into supermarkets.”
The supermarket giant has also announced plans to take over the former Royal Oak at West Hill, Portishead, and turn it into an Express Store – much to the horror of some local traders and residents.
A spokesman for Enterprise Inns said: “Following the decision last week we are continuing to review our options for the site.
“We are in discussions with representatives from the local community.
“No decision has been made at this stage.”