Fight continues to stop Aldershot Wetherspoon'sBy Amy Taylor
February 20, 2013
A SECOND petition against plans to build a JD Wetherspoon pub in The Arcade in Aldershot could be set up, as more businesses grow increasingly concerned for their future trade.
Despite a previous application being refused, fears are growing that the proposal to bring the pub and a large Poundland store to the shopping centre are very much still in motion after a revised application was submitted to Rushmoor Borough Council.
An appeal by Dunedin Property Ltd, which owns The Arcade, against the original refusal is still to be decided but the company has meanwhile submitted the amended plans for consideration.
This time, however, the application appears to include the premises of Jenny's Café, on the bottom corner of The Arcade, run by Erol and Zeynep Aydin.
Mrs Aydin said she was unhappy that it felt as though they were being pushed out, despite having nine more years on their lease.
“I’m not going anywhere,” she said. “All the customers are talking about it and asking me if I’m going, and I have to tell them no.
“My staff were feeling a bit insecure, so I’ve told them I’m not going anywhere. I’ll start a petition myself and make a very strong objection to the council.”
Dunedin confirmed there were no plans in place to use the café, but that they had spoken with the Aydins.
“They have a lease for nine years,” said asset manager Jenna Berry. “That’s in place. We won’t threaten that, but any negotiations in the future would be between us.
“It’s really quite far ahead, and what we have considered now might not be what’s actually going to happen.”
The Aydins’ petition would follow one created last year by shopkeeper Reza Asjadi, who submitted more than 3,200 signatures opposing the Wetherspoon's plan to the council.
He said he would also be objecting to the newly-submitted plan, and that the Aydins were understandably angry about being included in the layout.
He said: “It would be detrimental to their trade and reputation and a consequent loss of business and workers.
"Dunedin may be the actual owners of the property but the owners of Jenny's Café are the disponent owners for the next nine years as their lease dictates.”
Mrs Aydin said she worried about the effect a Wetherspoon's would have on the business community, but also on the small residential community living in flats opposite the café.
“We have a lot of pubs, there's more than enough for all of us. What we need is one more big department store or retailer to bring more people into Aldershot than are already here,” she added.
“You have Westgate, but it’s just a food hub, how far can we go with more and more restaurants and places to eat?
“That’s just dividing the existing customers among more restaurants.”
Dunedin's new submission is still to turn shops in the Victoria Road Arcade into a larger retail area, while changing the use of one section to allow for a pub, but the two units – Wetherspoon's and Poundland – have been swapped around.
The shop would be at the top of The Arcade, while the bottom floor would be the pub, with the units on top be used as offices for staff.