Sainsbury’s will open at Old Town’s Drive Pub after a long campaign by local residents and the town’s MP has failed.
The people of Old Town believe the small independent shops in Albert Parade will be adversely affected by a Sainsbury’s store.
Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd sent out a letter to Old Town residents explaining he had been unsuccessful in his attempts to stop Sainsbury’s moving in to the site.
He wrote, “I won’t beat around the bush, this is a real blow for all of us; the second one.”
Mr Lloyd had lobbied Eric Pickles to change the law so that pubs could not automatically be given retail permission but he explained the Secretary of State had ‘sided with the developers’.
The local MP had also been speaking with Green Street Surgery about them moving to the site to create a larger medical centre for Old Town. Despite support from local doctors, NHS funding was not available.
Mr Lloyd told the Herald, “After the long fight that I, the residents and traders of Old Town have had to try and stop Sainsbuy’s opening at the Drive Pub, it is bitterly disappointing.”
Robbie Dowsett, owner of Shepherds fruit and vegetable shop, which has been on Albert Parade for 25 years, said, “It is a big shame for the parade. When the weather is bad I think people will get their fruit and veg in there rather than walking up to us. We do have lots of faithful customers so hopefully they will continue to come up here.”
A spokesperson from Sainsbury’s said he was unable to give a timescale for the opening but said the firm was working on plans for the Victoria Drive premises and would soon be engaging with the local community.
The spokesperson said, “The store will bring back into use a vacant building, generate around 20-25 new jobs and help increase footfall on the parade benefitting existing and new businesses.”