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Store on my pub carpark will kill business, says landlord

Dudley | News | Published:

A landlord is battling plans to build a convenience store on the car park of his Black Country pub, which he says will kill his business.

The Hare & Hounds Inn, in Stourbridge, was among a number of pubs sold by Marston's Brewery and has been taken on by property investment firm New River Retail.

And while bosses from the company do not want to close the pub, in Wynall Lane, they are working on plans to build a Co-operative store on part of the car park.

Landlord Lee Sargeant, 45, and originally from West Bromwich, said if it went ahead, the development would leave him with just six car parking spaces.

He said at busy times as many as 50 spaces could be filled by customers using the pub and if they were not available it would seriously affect his trade.

Mr Sargeant, who has run the pub for three years, said he planned to fight the development.

"To be fair to New River Retail they have not suggested the pub should be closed which I know has been an issue in other areas," he said.

"However the plans to build a convenience store on the car park will kill my trade.

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"They have offered me six car parking spaces which is simply not enough.

"We are a very busy pub and need those spaces.

A view of inside the pub

"This would put the pub at serious risk."

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Mr Sargeant said it was not only business which had convinced him to fight the scheme.

"This is also our family home and we do not want to lose it," he said.

"I have got five children and they all go to schools around here. If we were to lose the pub it would mean uprooting everyone.

"This scheme has created an uncertainty which we do not need or want," he said.

The car park of the Hare and Hounds where a new Co-op could be built by River Retail

He is being supported by West Midlands UKIP MEPs James Carver and Bill Etheridge who launched the party's Save Our Pubs campaign.

It aims to protect popular pubs in the Black Country from being redeveloped.

Mr Carver said: "Financially viable pubs should not be sacrificed to make a quick buck to the detriment of the local communities they serve."

But New River Retail today defended the plan which they said would create 20 new jobs in the area.

A spokesman for the firm said: "We have been very open with the licensee about the draft plans to construct a new convenience store on part of the car park.

"Our objective is to retain the pub and introduce a new store which we believe will will improve local shopping choice, create new jobs and attract more visitors to the site which have benefitted other pubs elsewhere through linked trips.

"No planning application has been finalised yet and we will take steps to inform the local community when it is submitted."

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