Car park sale

NewRiver licensee faces fierce opposition to Co-op store

By Oli Gross

- Last updated on GMT

NewRiver licensee faces fierce opposition to Co-op store

Related tags Newriver retail Councillor Public house Want

A licensee who wants to save his pub by selling part of the car park is facing fierce opposition from Dudley councillors and residents.

Chris Miller, licensee at the Ashwood Inn, Wordsley, and owners NewRiver Retail want to sell the land to make way for a Co-op convenience store.

The sale would reduce his rateable value – saving him money on business rates – which he said would be enough to stop the pub from closing.

Martin Hughes, spokesman for NewRiver, told the PMA​: “He’s got a large car park at the moment, and the rates are calculated on the entire scope of the property. If we sell part of the land, then the rates can be reduced, leaving him with more than enough space.”

The Ashwood Inn was one of 202 pubs sold from Marston’s to NewRiver Retail for £90m. The new owners announced last year that 54 would have applications to build convenience stores.

Hughes continued: “Another benefit is that convenience stores attract people on foot. Passers by might notice the venue, and up until now they wouldn’t have known it was there.”

But residents are fighting the proposal, with 50 attending a Wordsley Council meeting to voice concerns about increased traffic and health and safety.

Wordsley councilor Paul Brothwood has been leading the fight against the proposal.

He said at a council meeting on Friday: "The building is unsightly and will not fit in. There are already three empty shops opposite and a convenience store.

"Co-op need to listen to the views of people who are adamant this is not wanted.

"I have not had any calls saying that there is support for this locally, everyone has made it very clear, and at the end of the day it will ultimately cost the Co-op.

"Wordsley is extremely busy as it is, and this is going to add more traffic and possible health and safety problems with schools and residential housing nearby.

"Local residents have already had enough to put up with including the empty shops opposite and now they've been stung with this too.

"Therefore I am determined to do everything I can to stop this build."

The council meets this week to decide the future of the pub.

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