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Co-op given permission to renovate former Doctor Johnson pub, Clayhall

PUBLISHED: 16:21 02 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:06 02 November 2017

Angela and Roger Norwood are pleased about the Doctor Johnson pub finally being sold after being left vacant for seven years. Picture: Ken Mears.

Angela and Roger Norwood are pleased about the Doctor Johnson pub finally being sold after being left vacant for seven years. Picture: Ken Mears.

Archant

After a seven year battle, residents are overjoyed that planning permission has been granted to turn the former Doctor Johnson pub into a Co-op shop.

Councillors voted eight to one in favour of the proposals at a planning meeting at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford, yesterday (November 1).

The empty Doctor Johnson pub, Longwood Gardens, Clayhall, was sold to the Co-op back in July, but disgruntled residents have been asking for the land to be used since 2010, saying the building was plagued by rats, flooding and fly-tipping.

Squatters and Travellers also visited the site while it was derelict.

Roger Norwood, 74, of Rushden Gardens, was among the residents pleading with Redbridge Council for the land to be better utilised and called the building an eyesore.

The Doctor Johnson. Picture Ken Mears. The Doctor Johnson. Picture Ken Mears.

He questioned why numerous other proposals had been turned down.

“It is good that Co-op has been given permission - almost anything is better than what it is now,” he told the Recorder.

“The only concern I have is how it will affect the other shops at the end of the road.

“But with rubbish and Travellers it has been an ongoing battle.”

Angela and Roger Norwood are pleased about the Doctor Johnson pub finally being sold after being left vacant for seven years. Picture: Ken Mears. Angela and Roger Norwood are pleased about the Doctor Johnson pub finally being sold after being left vacant for seven years. Picture: Ken Mears.

A spokesman for the Co-op said it was delighted to be able to bring the site - which is on Historic England’s buildings at risk register – back to its former glory.

“The pub is located in the heart of the Clayhall community, which makes it ideal as a convenience store,” he said.

“We look forward to providing shoppers with our wide range of award-winning food, in a store designed to be easy to use for everyone.”

The Co-op said that once opened the shop will have an in-store bakery, locally sourced produce and a focus on fresh, healthy foods and essentials.

The company will also be working with a local developer to restore the old bar and pub shelving, turning it into a homage to its past life.

Building work is scheduled to start on the site in 2018 with the store due to open later that year.

Redbridge Council has been contacted for comment.

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