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New lease of life beckons at last for Doctor Johnson pub as Co-op bids to open it as a shop in Clayhall

PUBLISHED: 18:01 11 July 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

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The empty Doctor Johnson pub in Clayhall has been sold more than seven years after last orders were called.

The Doctor Johnson pub could be turned into a Co-op convenience store.  Picture: Ken Mears The Doctor Johnson pub could be turned into a Co-op convenience store. Picture: Ken Mears

Supermarket chain the Co-op has submitted a planning application to turn the building in Longwood Gardens into a convenience store.

The Co-op told the Recorder on Tuesday, July 11 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 showpiece.

Martyn Clarke, regional acquisitions manager at the Co-op, said: “This former pub is located in the heart of the Clayhall community, which makes it ideal as a convenience store.

“Should planning consent be granted, we would be delighted to have the opportunity to provide shoppers with our wide range of award-winning food, in a store designed to be easy to use for everyone, including sympathetic restoration of the pub’s old features.”

Should permission be granted, work would start on the site in 2018 with the store due to open later that year.

Residents have been campaigning for years for the former pub and Grade II listed building to be used for something positive.

They complained the site was plagued by rats, flooding and fly-tipping.

Angela Norwood, who has lived near the site for the past 46 years, said residents are “none the wiser” and “mystified” about what is happening with the site but they are pleased that things are moving in the right direction.

She said: “We have heard conflicting comments about what it will be used for, but if the Co-op are moving in we would be so pleased.”

Her husband Roger also welcomes the shop and said the “quicker something is done with the site the better”.

“It’s better for it to be a Co-op than left in its current state – it’s an absolute eyesore,” he said.

“How it will affect the other shops I don’t know, but I think it will help the community overall.”

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