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We'll drink to that! Pub regulars celebrate fighting off plans for Tesco Express store on site of their localThe retail giant planned a new Tesco Express store on the site of the Victoria and Albert pub in Seaton Delaval, NorthumberlandBut planners and villagers waged a bitter battle against the grocery chain's plans to extend and convert the pubThere have been with more than 200 conversions of pubs to supermarket chains in Britain since 2010
00:55 GMT, 22 February 2013
03:19 GMT, 22 February 2013
Pub regulars have celebrated saving their beloved local from being turned into a Tesco after a 16 month campaign.
The retail giant planned a new Tesco Express store on the site of the Victoria and Albert pub in Seaton Delaval, Northumberland.
But the scheme was rebuffed by planners and villagers, who waged a bitter battle against the grocery chain's plans to extend and convert the pub.
The pub was the latest in a long list proposed to be converted into outlets for supermarket chains.
Regulars including Stephen Keir (front) celebrate outside the Victoria and Albert pub in Seaton Delaval, North Tyneside, after successfully fighting off plans for supermarket giants Tesco to take over the pub
There have been with more than 200 conversions in Britain since 2010.
Villagers accused Tesco of 'sheer arrogance' as they repeatedly applied for planning permission to convert the pub.
But councillors and residents have refused to let the multi-million pound supermarket chain 'grind them down' and vowed to save their local pub.
Councillors had been a shown letter from the pub's owners Punch Taverns, which backs the convenience store plans and said the pub would have shut anyway.
The company said: 'Tenants have been unable to derive any sustainable profit due to the very low levels of trade and high outgoings.
'And for Punch the inevitable alternative may be to close and board the property.'
But current manager Marshall Dunn rejected the claims, agreeing that when Tesco first looked to take over the Victoria and Albert it had been struggling, but in recent months business was booming.
'Before we took over, the pub was, as Tesco say, not a going concern,' he said.
'But trade has more than trebled in the last 16 to 17 months and it's now a real amenity for the village.'
But at a boisterous meeting of the south east area planning committee of Northumberland County Council on Tuesday night, councillors voiced their concerns that allowing the conversion would ultimately lead to a death on the road outside.
The pub is situated on a notorious blind bend in the village, prompting safety fears.
The retail giant planned a new Tesco Express store on the site but the scheme was rebuffed by planners and villagers, who waged a bitter battle against the grocery chain's plans to extend and convert the pub
Councillor Tom Brechany said that the idea of delivery lorries having to pull into and out of the proposed loading area outside the store was 'a recipe for disaster,' while fellow councillor Wayne Daley said he and his members had a 'duty of care' to the people of Northumberland.
'I find it really offensive to see Tesco coming to us yet again in the hope it grinds us down,' he said.
'It seems they hope we will get bored and let it through, but I'm not going to let that happen.'
An application for a 108 square metre extension to the pub was rejected on the grounds of road safety.
A separate application for two air conditioning units and a condenser was rejected on the grounds it could be an eyesore and create a noise nuisance for nearby homes.
A spokesman for Tesco said: 'We are disappointed by the decision, especially as the applications had a positive recommendation from the council's own officers.
'We will now consider our options and decide on the way forward.'
But villager Stephen Keir, who has led the campaign to save the pub, said he hoped this might finally be the end of the saga.
He said: 'Hopefully we've now seen the back of this application that is clearly lacking any credibility.'
Last year, a Co-operative supermarket was given the go-ahead, which could create up to 60 jobs, at a different site in the village.