Concerns grow over Old Town superstore

The Drive public house in Victoria Drive Eastbourne which could be converted into a branch of Sainsbury's. June 5th 2013 E23215P
The Drive public house in Victoria Drive Eastbourne which could be converted into a branch of Sainsbury's. June 5th 2013 E23215P
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As controversy rages over Sainsbury’s plans to open a shop at The Drive pub in Old Town, a meeting was due to be held last night (Thursday) for residents and traders to voice their concerns.

The meeting in the pub was organised by opponents against the supermarket giant’s intention to open up a Sainsbury’s Local store on the site and was to be chaired by Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd.

Concern has grown after it was revealed that because of current planning laws, Sainsbury’s does not need planning permission from Eastbourne Borough Council’s planning committee to change the use of the building from a public house to a retail unit.

A Facebook group called Keep Albert Parade Special! has been set up and members have been expressing their concern and a petition has also been set by traders.

Becky Miles said, “People should just leave the pub as it is. It has always been that way and should always be that way. We do not need a Sainsbury’s. We are all family here and are united as a community.”

Will Callaghan said, “We’ve got a great parade of independent shops on our doorstep in Old Town and it’s threatened by a proposed Sainsbury’s.”

Liberal Democrat members of the planning committee have said they are unhappy at the fact Sainsbury’s does not need permission to open a store.

In a statement they said, “Unfortunately, planning law allows a pub to become a retail store without needing planning permission; it can just happen because it is ‘permitted development’.

“The council does not have a say in it, which is ludicrous.

“The only planning applications relating to the site, which have been approved, were not in relation to change of use. “