Tesco plans dramatic change at listed pub

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A Grade II-listed building in Boston Spa looks set to change dramatically as Tesco moves in to make alterations.

The Crown Hotel, a former pub on the village high street, could undergo several modifications before it becomes a Tesco Express store, if planning permission is granted by Leeds City Council (LCC).

These changes include removing windows, partially demolishing walls, removing the majority of internal fixtures, removing the timber canopy, and closing up the existing rear access, which would result in a net loss of 9.25 cubic metres of the heritage asset.

Boston Spa parish council chair Robert Wivell said: “Our fear is destabilising the high street, because the multiples don’t give a fig. We have got a number of shops that will be affected.

“We have a butcher, a baker, and two convenience stores that do a very good job. Where is the gain in losing people like that?

“It is commercially very important to have a strong high street, and it is socially very important.

“Given the high proportion of older people, it is how they get out and meet people. It reduces the social fabric of the village if you upset that with things that don’t add any value.”

The building, half of which is Grade II-listed, meaning it is of special interest and warrants every effort to preserve it, was part of a public inquiry earlier in the year as a disagreement emerged over its use.

An initial application to convert the Crown Hotel into a Tesco Express was denied, and the supermarket then launched an appeal against the city council on the basis that the pub was never used as a hotel, therefore extra planning permission was not required.

After two days of hearing evidence and a site visit, government inspector David Pinner ruled in favour of Tesco in October, and these plans to make material alterations are the renewed bid from the retailer.

Objections were raised by the parish council when the first application was submitted, and Coun Wivell said there could also be cause for concern this time as well.

“As far as we can tell it is essentially the same application as before except this time they had put in an application for the car park,” he said.

“Obviously that is the part that may have implications for highways – being able to turn in close to a junction and traffic and that sort of thing.

“I suspect that we will have something to say about that.

“It is very narrow and there is quite a lot of traffic turning into and out of Church Street, so there will be some concern.

“All of that is part of a total picture and I hope we don’t get a cuckoo in the nest.”

The Wetherby News has learned that, if the plans are approved, work could start on site in the spring, with a late 2015 opening.

Tesco spokesman Mark Thomas said: “Following the appeal decision, we’re happy to be moving ahead with our store proposals for Boston Spa.

“Our store will create up to 20 jobs and complement the town’s great variety of shops.”