A potential Tesco convenience store could replace what was once The Old Courthouse pub in Cove Road
A former pub, which was closed by police last year following the death of a customer, could be turned into a Tesco convenience store.
A planning application was submitted this month to replace the entrance door and windows to the former Old Courthouse pub in Cove Road, Farnborough, with the aim of converting it into an Express store.
Tesco does not need planning consent to change the building’s use from a public house to a food retail shop, but it does need permission to alter the existing building.
Paul Cowper, chairman of the Surrey & Hants Borders branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said: “We are yet again disappointed that a pub is being turned into another Tesco.
“There are quite a lot of instances where this type of thing has been going on and CAMRA is not happy at all about it and we will be putting in our objections to the planning application.”
The Old Courthouse was shut on November 17 last year when Hampshire Constabulary issued a closure order, following a serious incident in the street outside.
On April 14 last year, 36-year-old Raymond Dibbs, the son of Rushmoor Borough Council’s deputy leader Roland Dibbs, collapsed with a head injury after he became involved in an altercation, and died the following day.
At an inquest into Mr Dibbs’ death on November 13 last year, the jury returned a verdict of accidental death.
Becky Jane, manager of One Stop in Cove Road, said she was “pretty gutted” that Tesco could be coming.
“It is going to affect our business, but unfortunately there is nothing really we can do,” she added.
“The Old Courthouse was quite a good pub.
“I am gutted that it is going to be turned into a retail outlet.”
Councillor Martin Tennant, representing Cove and Southwood ward for the borough council, described the application as an “interesting dilemma”.
He said: “I am keen to see pubs retained because it is a difficult trading environment.
“I would like to see a successful licensing trade in Farnborough and Aldershot but I am very aware of the economic challenges that pubs are facing.
“Tesco know exactly what they are doing and it is a prime location, I would be interested to see what the development committee think and I hope it will bring some employment and vibrancy to that part of Cove.”
Residents can comment on the proposal on the council’s website up until January 9, before a decision is due on February 12.
One resident said: “Cove struggles to hold onto a range of small independent shops.
“A Tesco Express is going to take trade away from several of the local shops and will eventually put them out of business.
“Farnborough town centre is being systematically stripped of its independent shops, with more to be lost soon with the redevelopment of Firgrove Parade.
“Cove offers the only relief to the big chain conformity and its variety of independent shops needs protecting and supporting.”
A spokesman for Tesco was unavailable at the time of going to press.