Supermarket plan for Chiswell Green pub garden

An artist's impression of the proposed convenience store viewed from Watfor

An artist's impression of the proposed convenience store viewed from Watfor - Credit: Archant

A popular beer garden at a well-loved pub could soon be turned into a supermarket.

Plans to build a Sainsbury’s Local in The Three Hammers garden, in Watford Road, Chiswell Green, are making headway.

Residents have raised concerns about the loss of the existing green space, enjoyment of family pub lunches and the future of the local independent shops there.

But the development company behind the new supermarket claims to be improving safety and offering residents better choice at lower prices.

Director of Chiswell Maine development firm, Roger Ahmed, said that the 280 sq ft store would be built on the current beer garden site but that would make Chiswell Green safer - by blocking off the “dangerous” way cars currently accessed and exited the pub at the front on to the main road.

He plans to turn the front car park into soft landscaping so the pub will still have a beer garden. He suggested 50 parking spaces at the back of the pub would be enough for pub patrons and Sainsbury’s customers.

Mr Ahmed said: “Effectively we are taking away the beer garden but we are building another one to provide a nice green landscaped beer garden that will improve the pub.

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“We are offering a better convenience store with more choice and lower prices for residents.”

He added: “We’re investing in the local centre to improve this setting. It will hopefully stop people having to drive to the nearest supermarket, so they can do their mid-week shop close to where they live. It will also create between 20 and 25 jobs.”

But according to St Stephen parish council, some residents are unhappy about thme proposal and think it’s unnecessary.

Chairman, Cllr Michael Freeman, said: “Why do we need any sort of big retailers? We have got the corner shop, the bakery and the post office. We are adequately supplied by those. This is the feeling from residents.

“The pub itself has quite a good trade. Lots of families use it for meals out, so it is a pub that uses its car park. Parking may be inadequate because of people driving to the store.

“The parking is pretty tight anyway. It could be a problem, especially bearing in mind that there’s no parking round there anyway – it’s all double yellow lines on the surrounding streets.

He went on: “It’s not Green Belt - but it is green open space that provides a nice gap between the pub building and the housing down Watford Road.”

Cllr Freeman added: “Soon, if it carries on like this it, it won’t be known as Chiswell Green, it will just be known as Chiswell - because there won’t be any green left.”

Consultation meetings with residents have taken place in the last month and more are planned.