Fear for local shops if village pub near Bristol is converted into a Co-op and homes

The Live and Let Live pub closed four years ago and has been left empty since then
The Live and Let Live pub, on Clyde Road, closed four years ago and has been left empty since thenThe Live and Let Live pub, on Clyde Road, closed four years ago and has been left empty since then
The Live and Let Live pub, on Clyde Road, closed four years ago and has been left empty since then

Local shops in a village north of Bristol are concerned about their future if a former pub is converted into a Co-op and housing.

Developers want to convert the Live and Let Live pub in Frampton Cotterell into a shop, a house, three flats and a bungalow.

Councillors at South Gloucestershire Council decided to defer a decision on granting planning permission for the development. They said they needed further details about how the new Co-op would affect existing shops in the village.

The Live and Let Live pub, on Clyde Road, closed four years ago and has been left empty since then. The development management committee heard from both developers and opponents of the plans about how they could impact Frampton Cotterell.

Chris Miell, associate director at Pure Town Planning, said: “The public house closed in 2019 and has remained vacant for the past four years. It would be unviable for the pub to recommence trading due to substantial renovation costs and low levels of expected turnover.

“The public house has been marketed for over two years and no offer has been received from pub operators or similar businesses. Therefore the loss of the public house is acceptable in planning terms.”

The main concern raised during the meeting, rather than the loss of a community pub, was how a new shop could compete with existing convenience stores. Mr Miell said an extra shop in the area could encourage people to walk there, instead of driving.

He added: “There are approximately 2,600 local residents who live within 400 metres of this site. At present there are no convenience shops in this part of the village, which means that these residents need to walk 13 minutes to reach their nearest store. In reality most residents would drive, which is an unsustainable pattern of movement.”

But existing shopkeepers are opposing the plans. One said a decision to grant permission could “change our lives forever”, and threaten their ability to keep their business open. Other concerns included the potential impact on parking and traffic in the village.

Stuart Rackham, a local planning consultant, said: “I’m here on behalf of a number of local shops to object to the planning application. The Village Roots is a local store embedded in the community and it’s been part of Frampton Cotterell for generations.

“The real fear here is that if you grant permission and allow another convenience store in this part of Frampton, it’ll be the final straw that breaks the camel’s back, in terms of the store surviving. There are significant cost increases which local businesses are incurring at the moment.”

Edwina Pennell, who runs the Budgens shop on Woodend Road, added: “We’ve all been dreading today because we know that the decision you take could change our lives forever. We survived the pandemic but now we’re under huge pressure from rising costs and the cost of retail goods rising.

“But we’re confident we can survive and overcome these problems by working harder and longer and cutting costs and persevering. However, we all honestly know, without a doubt, that we can’t survive another multiple retailer moving into our area. It would just be too much for us to take. We are the high street and we are asking you for your protection.”