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Green light for new Co-op on Stourbridge's Hare and Hounds car park

Dudley | News | Published:

A new £1m Co-op store will be built on the car park of a Black Country pub after planning bosses gave the green light.

The new shop will be constructed next to the Hare and Hounds Pub in Stourbridge, which will also get around £75,000 invested into it.

Developer NewRiver Retail Ltd was granted planning permission by Dudley Council, despite a number of objections.

Up to 20 jobs could be created. The development firm which owns the pub, said money would also be spent revamping the Hare and Hounds in Wynall Lane.

But Cradley and Wollescote Ward Councillor Richard Body was against the development. He felt the new store will affect traffic on the 'dangerous' road.

"I think having parking there would make the road even more dangerous," he said.

"The accidents that happen on a regular basis haven't been addressed seriously enough.

"We have the main road with a blind bend and a bus stop next door to a pub, which will have half of its car park gone. Parking already takes place on the pavement. It will make travelling on the road extra difficult."

The new 326 sq m store, which will be one-storey, will be built on part of the car park.

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A total of 28 car parking spaces (include both disabled and parent child spaces) will be created.

An ATM machine would also be installed. The car park was described as 'currently underutilised' in the planning application.

The new £1m shop will stand alongside the pub which will see around £75,000 invested in it by owners NewRover Retail Ltd.

Up to six full-time and 14 part time staff could be created. As part of the developer's planning application, existing outbuildings will also be demolished on the pub's ground.

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The Hare and Hounds building will also be extended with a one-storey development.

But Councillor Body was sceptical of that figure. He said: "I doubt very much 20 jobs will be created. I remember when there was a Co-op store down the road. It left 20 years because they couldn't make it work, so why would it work now?

"The parking situation will put pressure on the pub. It is a drinkers pub, it doesn't do hot meals."

Campaigners in Dudley have called for new laws to prevent pubs being redeveloped. Plans were given the go ahead to knock down The Summer House in Woodsetton and the Maypole Inn in Hasbury, Halesowen, after the Co-op won its battle to have stores built in place.

Dudley Council originally refused both applications but an independent planning inspector ruled in favour of the chain.

Both pubs were bought by NewRiver Retail Ltd from Marstons three years ago.

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