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Has your nearest pub become a Tesco Express? Protesters find themselves virtually powerless to stop supermarkets taking over ...
... Across Britain, hundreds of pubs are being converted into Tesco Express or Sainsbury's Local stores as supermarkets pursue a "street corner" growth strategy in the face of restrictions on out-of-town developments. Tesco has opened 1,500 Express stores already and plans hundreds more. Sainsbury's has 400 Locals, Morrisons is trialling its M-Local stores and Waitrose is rolling out 300 Little stores. The Co-op is also planning a big expansion of its convenience store format.
The march of the retail giants has met with fierce, but almost entirely fruitless, resistance across the country. The roll-call of failed campaigns is lengthy; the Red Lion in Milford, the Black Bull in Kirklees, the Alexandra in Wigan, the Carpenter's Arms in Cardiff, the Honeysuckle Arms in Gateshead, the Angel Inn in Caerleon near Newport, the Marsham Arms in Chelmsford … the list could run on and on.
But why are pubs targeted? Critics say a legal loophole allows them to be converted to mini-markets without planning permission, leaving councils powerless to halt the process. What's more, as long as the floor space is no more than 280 sq metres (3,000 sq ft), the retailer can bypass the Sunday Trading Act and remain open all hours ...Full article, the Guardian, 06/04/12.