A PLEA has been made to prevent a landmark South Tyneside pub being converted into a supermarket.
Plans have been revealed to change The West Park in Stanhope Road, South Shields, to a Sainsbury’s Local outlet.
A planning application is to be submitted to South Tyneside Council by the retail giant and building owner Sansec Developments for conversion of the property’s ground floor.
But the move has been criticised by IT healthcare manager Henry Pearce, who is to stand for UKIP in The West Park ward at May’s local elections.
Mr Pearce, who lives in South Shields, is unhappy that the pub has already closed – even before a planning application is submitted.
And he is angry at the loss of what he describes as a “community asset”.
He said: “The pub was doing very well with a popular function room that was often used for wedding receptions.
“UKIP believe the Government, at all levels, has become too remote from the people, and that in making planning decisions local people’s opinions should be respected and not overturned.
“I’d urge the council not to just stand by and wave through the plan and turn an architecturally stunning building into yet another convenience store.”
Mr Pearce thinks there is still time to stop the development and has urged residents to contact him via e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peta Brydon, Sainsbury’s convenience surveyor for the North of England, said: “A Sainsbury’s Local on the corner of Stanhope Road would provide people with a really easy and convenient place to top up their weekly shopping.
“It would also bring more choice and competition to the local food offer and create jobs for people living nearby.
“This is an excellent opportunity to maintain the commercial use of an important site and, should planning permission be granted, we’re looking forward to getting involved in the local community, including selecting a local charity to benefit from the fundraising activities of store colleagues.
“Sainsbury’s is very proud of its reputation as a good neighbour, and we have a lot of experience running our Local stores around the country.
“We will keep the local community updated as the project continues.”
The Gazette revealed in April last year that the pub had been put up for sale at an asking price of £365,000.
The new store would open from 7am to 11pm every day and stock a wide range of products including fresh fruit and vegetables, bakery goods and dairy products.