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Calls made for former Clayhall pub to remain in community hands

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 September 2015 | UPDATED: 13:29 18 September 2015

The derelict Doctor Johnson pub in Clayhall

The derelict Doctor Johnson pub in Clayhall

Archant

Calls are being made for a derelict former pub to remain in the hands of the community, as plans for it to be turned into a supermarket come before Redbridge Council.

Tesco has applied to transform the Doctor Johnson pub, in Longwood Gardens, Clayhall, into a store and residential development.

But those against the proposals are arguing that the site should be used for a community facility.

Marina Vine, 79, of nearby Rosedene Gardens, has collected 25 signatures on a petition.

She said: “That building has been there since I moved here in 1960. It is a much-loved landmark and could be used for everybody in the borough, with a lot of thought.

“It could be something special.

“There are shops on the parade and, within five minutes’ drive, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Lidl.

“There is absolutely no reason to have another supermarket and it will affect the other traders there.”

The plans for the Doctor Johnson, to be discussed at the council’s regulatory committee meeting on Monday, include three flats on the first floor and three three-bedroom homes at the rear of the building, fronting Rushden Gardens.

The council has received representations from 27 objectors, with concerns expressed including a loss of the historical significance of the Grade II-listed building, unused since 2010.

But Stacy Ismael, 45, owner of nearby business Paw-Fect, believes a Tesco store is a “fantastic idea”.

“It will bring business to the area and is a walking distance. I think it will be good, the only thing I am worried about is parking.”

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting said while it is “always disappointing” to lose “community assets”, he believes people will welcome the building going back into use.

Cllr Keith Prince (Barkingside, Conservative) argued the plans are a “non-starter” and believes any developer needs to “involve the community”.

The pub was occupied by squatting group Suspenses Property Guardians for six days last year, before members voluntarily left.

A Tesco spokesman told the Recorder: “We look forward to hearing the outcome of the planning application.”


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