Tesco wins fight to turn Boston Spa pub into shop

Boston Spa Parish Coun Tim Baker with residents Ken Waller and Steve Morritt outside The Crown Hotel.
Boston Spa Parish Coun Tim Baker with residents Ken Waller and Steve Morritt outside The Crown Hotel.

A government inspector has ruled that a Boston Spa pub can be turned into a Tesco Express store.

A public inquiry, the second in the village in four months, was called after Tesco appealed against a Leeds City Council decision that the high street’s Crown Hotel had some use as a hotel. The supermarket chain rejected this and said it should not have to submit a change of use application.

After two days of hearing evidence and a site visit, inspector David Pinner ruled in favour of Tesco. He said that although tenants made efforts to market The Crown as a place to stay, that did not mean anything had changed in planning terms.

Mr Pinner said: “I take the view that the provision of guest accommodation at The Crown, whether that was for three bedrooms or seven, did not take the use of the building beyond what could properly be described as a public house.

“The building had the external and internal character and appearance of a public house and the range of facilities on offer was encompassed in the term ‘public house’ as would be generally understood by the average person.”

Boston Spa parish councillors presented evidence at the inquiry against Tesco in their continued fight to keep the only hotel left in the village.

Though Coun Tim Baker said it was never an anti-Tesco campaign, it was important to try to save The Crown.

He told the Wetherby News: “It absolutely hasn’t gone the way we hoped. We believe we were right and presented as good a case as we could.

“They have obviously thrown a lot of money at it employing a QC for a number of months, and as a parish council we are bitterly disappointed the inspector didn’t put more emphasis on the hotel use of the Crown, but we lost.

“Our main concern now is the detrimental effect it could have on traders on the high street

“As a parish council we want to make positive contributions in our neighbourhood and it is frustrating that we are trying to prevent things all the time instead of pushing things forward, but they need to be the right things.

“We would welcome a dialogue with Tesco on what their proposals are.”

Council chairman Robert Wivell added: “Our concern is to prevent damage to other people on the High Street. It is not going to be easy for some of them.”

At the inquiry an application for costs was made by Tesco. This will be decided separately.

Tesco spokesman Mark Thomas said: “This now means that we are able to invest in the town, create new jobs, and bring a complementary shopping offer the community can enjoy.

“We’re reviewing our timing for starting on-site and will be updating the community.”

In May the parish council presented evidence at a public inquiry on plans for 104 houses on land between Grove Road and Green Lane after an appeal from developers Miller Homes. There has been no response from this inquiry.