Planning approval NOT needed to turn pub into Tesco Express

TESCO is planning to open its third mini-express store in Yeovil with news that it is to take over the Picketty Witch pub premises in Ilchester Road.Planning approval NOT needed to turn pub into Tesco Express

People living in the Ilchester Road area of the town received a letter from the supermarket giant at the weekend outlining its plans to open a convenience store within the former pub which closed down in recent weeks.

Tesco’s corporate affairs manager, Melanie Chiswell, said in the letter that its Tesco Express stores were designed to offer customers a wide range of fresh produce and essential items at “fair prices.”

But the news has been greeted with dismay among some people with many claiming that the town does not need another Tesco store.

Tesco already has its giant superstore in the centre of town at Huish, while it also Express stores on the Abbey Manor Park estate in the west and at Cavalier Way in the east.

The planned Express on the A37 Ilchester Road at the Picketty Witch would see the company have the north of the town covered to leave cynics claiming that Tesco only has the southern area to go in order to have all corners of the compass embraced in Yeovil.

Ms Chiswell said in her letter, a copy of which can be seen below, that the new store at the Picketty Witch would create around 20 full and part-time jobs. “These positions will be prioritised for local people and roles will range from management to customer service jobs,” she said.

Planning approval NOT needed to turn pub into Tesco ExpressWhile some have bemoaned the imminent arrival of a new Tesco premises, others have mourned the loss of another pub.

The Picketty Witch was built in the 1930s and was what you would call a proper community pub, but it now looks a sorry state with the windows boarded up with steel shutters.

Ms Chiswell has been keen to stress that the Tesco store will be looking to get involved in community activities and charity fundraising throughout the year and has asked people to let her know of local charities they could support.

Tesco has been criticised in other parts of the country for targeting pubs for new stores in order to avoid complex planning laws. Planning rules mean that a supermarket does not need to apply for a 'change of use' in order to trade a former pub as a store.

And a spokesman for South Somerset District Council confirmed: “A need for planning permission is NOT required for a change of use from pub to a shop. Planning permission will be required, however, for external alterations such as the provision of a shop front.”

The spokesman added: “There is no further comment to add at the moment as far as we are concerned.”