A FORMER Sheffield pub is set for a new lease of life as a Tesco Express – amid fears it will derail existing traders.
Plans have been drawn up to turn the old Beehive Inn at the corner of Dykes Hall Road and Far Lane at Wisewood into one of the supermarket giant’s neighbourhood stores.
Already there are warnings of the impact on existing retailers. Robert Riley, who runs Dykes Hall Convenience across the road, predicted this week that he would have to close by the summer. “I can’t compete with them,” he said.
The pub is currently boarded up and no council permission is needed for the principle of it being turned into a supermarket. According to national planning rules, change of use from a pub to retail is “permitted development”.
However, council approval is needed for relatively minor changes to the appearance of the building – advertising signs, the addition of a cash machine and the installation of equipment such as for air conditioning. Public objections will only be taken into account if they refer to these issues.
Plans for Tesco Expresses in other parts of Sheffield have prompted protests about the effect on existing shopkeepers and traffic but these have related to new buildings.
Some online support has emerged for the Beehive scheme on the basis of reviving a derelict site – and the store will serve a densely-populated catchment area extending to Wadsley, Middlewood and Hillsborough.
But Mr Riley, who runs the convenience store with wife Gillian, said he was “mortified” at the impending arrival of Tesco. “It is going to close me down,” he said. “They are going to have miles and miles of space for vegetables, meat, everything... I haven’t got the space. You just can’t compete.”
He has had the store for seven years but there has been a grocer’s on the parade for 70 years, he said. His premises are still known as the corner shop, even though they were relocated.
Mr Riley, aged 45, said he would wait to see what happens when the Tesco Express opens but he fears the worst, that he will be forced to take the option of not renewing his lease in the summer and he will then have to look for another job.
With nobody else likely to want to take over the shop, he believes he could be £50,000 out of pocket.
Kerry Cliff, who has run The Honeypot sandwich shop for six years, is also apprehensive about the impact on her trade. She added: “I don’t think people will want the big lorries and the extra parking.”