This week, barriers have gone up around the perimeter of the site of the former Chells Family Pub at The Glebe.

Local borough and county councilor Robin Parker says:

I checked the latest position and it is that Tesco, who now have a lease on the site, have contractors there removing asbestos from the building. Tesco intend to submit a planning application to Stevenage Borough Council in the next three weeks, approximately, requesting permission for external alterations.

This agrees with what I previously reported in May, which was that Tesco had told me that they would soon be applying for planning permission for a new shop front and external alterations, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, and an ATM cash machine, as well as applying for advertisement consent for signage.

Tsco tell me that they plan to open a Tesco Express there late in 2011, which will create 20 new full and part time jobs for local people.


Background

Stevenage Borough Council sold the freehold of the site and pub to a private company around 2004. After that, Stevenage Borough Council received a planning application for residential development (apartments) for the site, but this was refused and the development did not proceed. Instead, the Chells and Family Pub continued on the site until April 2011 when instead the private company granted a lease to Tesco for a Tesco Express on the site. Local Liberal Democrat borough and county councillor, Robin Parker, found out this information during April and publicised it round Chells and Manor in his election leaflet at the end of April (as soon as he was legally able to do so). Subsequently, the local press ran the story and local petitions were organized opposing Tesco at The Glebe.

Stevenage Borough council has no power at all to refuse the Tesco development at the Glebe, because Tesco do not need plannimng permission for the change from a pub to a shop and the council do not own or control the site, since the sale of the freehold in 2004. Tesco will need planning permission only for external alterations and advertisement consent for signage.

Stevenage Liberal Democats have set up two petitions on our web site: one opposing Tesco and the other supporting it. Local borough councillor Liberal Democrat Graham Snell explained:

As your local councillors, John Mead, Robin Parker and I decided that we should give all local people the chance to express whatever view they wished – hence both YES and NO petitions. The petitions are still open for anyone to sign.

All three local Liberal Democrat councillors attended the rally at the site on Sunday 5 June.

Robin Parker has also obtained a contact at Tesco, to whom any enquiries can be directed. She is Carol Leslie, Tesco Corporate Affairs Manager, and she can be contacted by e mail at [email protected]

We will try and keep you informed about news on this issue.