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Clayhall Co-op opening in former Doctor Johnson pub this year

PUBLISHED: 15:04 30 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:04 30 July 2019

The Doctor Johnson was left vacant for seven years. Picture: Ken Mears.

The Doctor Johnson was left vacant for seven years. Picture: Ken Mears.

Archant

After a two year wait, a Co-op in Clayhall should be open for customers by the end of the year.

The former Doctor Johnson pub in Longwood Gardens is being transformed into a shop with flats above and some of the original features will survive the revamp.

A Co-op spokesman said: "We are looking forward to opening on this site to serve the community in Clayhall, however, reconstruction works being undertaken by the landlord - including sympathetic restoration of some of the pub's old features - are taking longer than anticipated.

"We hope to have the store open by the end of the year."

The Doctor Johnson site has long been a source of frustration for residents living in surrounding roads.

In February 2017, a group of people living in Rushden Gardens said the disused pub been plagued by rats, flooding and fly-tipping for seven years.

They said since 2010 the Grade II listed Doctor Johnson has become an eyesore and something should be done with the site.

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Neighbours reported that the pub had been vandalised, stripped of copper piping and had housed squatters.

The vast cellar also had to be drained of stagnant water and rats are regularly seen.

Speaking at the time, Tom Gough, 69, said:"We're sorry that this once beautiful building has gone to rack and ruin, it is a dumping ground with fridge freezers and broken bottles,

"It's absolutely disgusting."

A Redbridge Council spokesman said the majority of planning applications were withdrawn by the applicants and officers were liaising with parties to "bring forward works that preserve the fabric of the building".

But in July 2017, the same year, Co-op announced it would be renting the ground floor.

Speaking to the Recorder about the news, nearby resident Roger Norwood said he welcomes the shop and added that 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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