A supermarket’s plans to bring a new store to a village “by stealth” could still be brought to a halt by red tape, according to campaigners.
Last week the Citizen reported that Morrisons plans to open an M Local store in Deanshanger High Street. Residents had previously been assured by the site owners that the venue would re-open as a family restaurant.
But local campaigners believe the store could be at least temporarily halted if South Northants Council impose an Article Four Direction, obliging the site owners to seek planning permission.
Mark Mitchell, of the Campaign To Stop Morrisons Opening At The Fox & Hounds In Deanshanger By Stealth, said: “There’s a loophole in planning regulations, which means you can change from a pub to a convenience store without needing planning permission, which is why the pub got permission for an extension and no one was told when it was decided to open a supermarket instead.
“I don’t think many people would object to Morrisons if this had all been done in the open, but it has all been by stealth.
“However an Article 4, would mean that Morrisons had no choice but to apply for planning consent and have it all out in the open. The surrounding area has one of these – now we are trying to convince the council to impose one on the old Fox & Hounds too.”
Campaigners held another public meeting on the topic yesterday evening.
Last week Alan Dott, chairman of Deanshanger Parish Council, said residents had been “lied to and misled” over the application, and predicted problems with traffic and for existing shops.
Morrisons was unable to comment on the story this week, but a spokesman last week said the firm “did not have an involvement with the approved planning application”.
> The Citizen has this week seen documents submitted to South Northants District Council earlier this year, outlining plans to re-open the venue as a pub. These include descriptions of the venue as “very much a ‘locals’ offer”.
To see the documents visit www.miltonkeynes.co.uk