December 9 2013 Latest news:
By Nick Gill
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
A PUB which closed its doors last month is set to reopen as a Tesco Express, it has been revealed today (Wednesday).
The Pelican in Letchworth GC shut at the end of January after leaseholders Greene King said it had become “unviable”.
Following continued speculation on the Grange Estate, a deal was struck between the supermarket giant and Greene King today after the pub owners bought the freehold of the land from North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC) on February 8.
Businesses at The Parade in Southfields will be in direct competition with the Tesco Express at Middlefields and fear it could lead to several closures.
Nisa convenience store owner Sudager Aujla said: “They (Tesco) don’t care about anybody else because if they did they wouldn’t be doing what they are doing. Four to five shops will close down as a result. If Tesco want to takeover the world then that’s exactly what is happening.”
Mr Aujla attempted to buy the freehold off the council and made a bid last month to try to keep the pub open.
He is now considering taking legal action against the council over how the sale was handed, and met with a solicitor yesterday (Wednesday) to discuss the matter.
He added that the public had shown they were against the move by signing a petition in the store, which he says has gained more than 1,000 signatures in less than two weeks.
A Tesco spokesman said the company hope the store will open in the autumn, creating around 20 new jobs.
She added: “We think this is an excellent location for a Tesco Express. Not only is this a good opportunity to regenerate this former pub site and bring it back to use but we look forward to investing in the area, creating new jobs, serving local people and becoming part of the community.”
Cllr Terry Hone, NHDC’s deputy leader and portfolio holder for finance, confirmed that the council had sold the freehold to Greene King on February 8 but said the terms of sale were confidential.
He added: “We are unable to comment further due to the threat of legal action.”
Last June Greene King chopped down three trees outside the pub without NHDC’s permission. The Comet asked the council how the matter had been resolved.
Cllr Hone said: “The council is pleased to confirm that Greene King provided compensation for the unauthorised removal of the trees in June last year. Following consultation with ward members, we will now be able to spend that money on landscape improvements to the Community Garden, including tree planting, with work likely to take place in the autumn.”
The council said it was unable to disclose the amount of compensation it was given to improve the Community Garden, which is situated behind the former pub site in Pelican Way.