Save the pub and scrap plans for a new supermarket

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Hundreds of irate residents are petitioning for a change in planning law after plans to change their village pub to a supermarket went ahead without consultation.

Deanshanger families only found out the Fox and Hounds was to become a Morrisons when they saw job adverts for shop assistants.

Current regulations allow the change of use from public house to retail with any planning permission.

Now 900 residents have signed a petition to South Northants Council asking for a rethink.

They want to discover if there has been a breach of planning rules that would enable permitted development rights to be suspended.

Chair of the council’s planning committee Councillor Rebecca Breese said: “We have asked the head of development management if there’s been any breach of regulations and he will take action if required.”

But she admitted: “I’m not sure it is likely that there is any breach... But I do sympathise with the residents.

“Larger towns might be able to absorb the loss of a pub because there are plenty of others. But in a small village like Deanshanger the loss of a prominent community pub like the Fox and Hounds will be keenly felt.”

Parish councillor Andy Limbert said Deanshanger already had four good shops.

“We need a further one like a hole in the head,” he said.

Residents, backed by the parish council, want to see the Fox and Hounds, which closed last summer, reopened to become a hub of their community again.

Meanwhile Morrisions bosses are insisting the supermarket chain is just a tenant. They say they had no involvement with the approved planning application to convert the pub building.