Anger over Tesco takeover of Letchworth pub

SHOPPERS and business owners are united in opposition of Tesco’s decision to take over a closed pub.

Those who use and work at shopping precinct The Parade in Letchworth GC have told the Comet that a Tesco Express is not wanted and will only put competing shops out of business.

Tesco announced last week it had come to an agreement with Greene King for the lease of the former pub site in Middlefields, following the closure of The Pelican in January. A Tesco Express store, creating around 20 jobs, is expected to open in the autumn.

The Parade in Southfields currently houses a number of amenities for the Grange Estate including a Nisa convenience store, a Martin’s newsagents, the Grange Wine Store and the Grange Pharmacy.

“I feel that the community who have made the decision haven’t heard the voice of the local people,” said Grange Pharmacy owner Vijay Gandecha.

“What it comes down to it you see that many shops have closed in Letchworth town centre and the same virus might spread here.”

Hitesh Chandarana, owner of the Grange Wine Store, added: “There’s nothing we can really do now. I think it’s absolutely disgusting as Greene King have had it in the pipeline for a long time without anybody knowing about it.

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“The Tesco is going to be open later than ourselves and it’s really going to kick us in the teeth. I don’t have the manpower to do that.”

The Comet asked residents in the town who were using The Parade for their views.

Jean Wake, of Midhurst, was one of many to the sign a petition against closing the pub and turning it into a supermarket.

She said: “We don’t need a Tesco. It’s going to put others out of business.”

Michael Watts, of Wilbury Road, said: “All the shops here as far as I’m concerned supply good value service. It’s all on friendly first name terms with some of the staff but with Tesco it would be faceless.

“They are not creating 20 jobs, all it will be doing is moving the jobs around. It’s a great pity and we don’t need it.”

Peter Stanton, of Eastern Way, said: “I won’t go to Tesco as I think they’ve been a bit naughty. I will continue to shop (at The Parade) but that’s if they’re still here, that’s the trouble. It’s all these big companies which are ruining the local shops.”

Nisa owner Sudager Aujla is still considering whether to take legal action against North Hertfordshire District Council after his bid to buy the freehold of the land in order to keep the pub open failed.

The council sold the freehold to Greene King on February 8, although a council spokesman has now confirmed that the playground area next to the former pub site is still owned by the authority.