Concern over plans to turn Rushden pub into convenience store

The Viking pub in Rushden
The Viking pub in Rushden

A Rushden pub could soon be serving food rather than pints if plans to turn it into a convenience store are approved.

The Co-operative Group Food Ltd and Charles Wells have applied for change of use for The Viking pub in Grangeway, Rushden, to a convenience store with associated works.

The proposed floor plan for a new Co-op store

The proposed floor plan for a new Co-op store

The planning statement says: “In summary, the proposal includes the change of use of the existing public house and external alterations to create a 358sq m gross Co-op convenience store (Class A1).

“The proposals also include a delivery and loading area to the south (rear) of the site, and a plant enclosure.

“Additional details include demarcation of car parking spaces, cycle provision and minor alterations to the external appearance of the property, including new entrance doors.

“The proposed new convenience store will provide for day to day shopping needs, focusing on fresh produce (e.g. fruit, vegetables and bread).”

As part of the planning documents, the applicant has sought to provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the existing pub use of the site is ‘not viable.’

It says there are nine other pubs in the area which they say shows ‘there is sufficient alternative provision elsewhere in Rushden.’

And the documents state: “The proposals for the change of use is for the substitution of one town centre use for another and should be considered in this context.

“While the proposal for redevelopment of the site falls outside of an identified town centre, the proposal is very small-scale and is proposed to only serve the local catchment area.

“The profile of customers will comprise those living nearby who will generally walk to the store to undertake their regular top-up shopping, possibly as a linked trip with nearby education, community or leisure uses.”

The application was on the agenda at a meeting of Rushden Town Council’s planning consultative committee last week.

Several people who live near the pub and have concerns about the application attended the meeting.

One resident said: “We don’t need a Co-op.

“We have had four pubs close down in Rushden, when’s the trend going to stop of closing the pubs down?”

He also questioned whether the town needs another store like this when there is already McColls in Grangeway as well as Asda, Waitrose, two Lidl supermarkets, Tesco Express and Sainsbury’s Local in the town.

Anyone wanting to comment on the application, which will be considered by East Northants Council, can click here and search for 17/01018/FUL.

A number of comments have been made online about the plans, including one which says: “This is ridiculous, there is already a shop next door along with many more in Rushden.

“This needs to be kept as a pub and let someone buy it who intends to keep it that way.”

Another person said: “This would be an absolute tragedy for the community and customers of The Viking.”