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Second shop plan for Colchester's Drury Arms likely
DEVELOPERS are still hoping to turn a former Colchester pub into a convenience store.
Campaigners celebrated when a Government inspector threw out plans to reopen the Drury Arms as a Sainsbury’s Local store.
Now developer Property Portfolio has said it will probably try again with a revised application to turn the pub, on the corner of Drury Road and Layer Road, into a shop.
Simon Allen, the company’s asset manager, said: “We will go back to the drawing board, led by the inspector’s decision.
“We will be looking at a different design which planners might consider more sympathetically.”
More than 1,600 neighbours signed a petition against the original shop plans, with many of them suggesting the building should reopen as a gastro-pub or a restaurant.
However, Mr Allen said his company was more likely to pursue the idea of using the site for a shop.
He said: “Originally, we looked at a couple of uses, including a doctor’s surgery, but in these economic times, it is not easy, even for developers.
“We would be looking for a retail use and will be in consultation with prospective tenants.”
Colchester Council agreed with local objectors and refused the shop plans.
Mr Allen’s company appealed against the decision but Government inspector David Smith upheld the council’s original decision.
The original application would have almost doubled the floor area of the existing buildings to create storage areas and a bigger shop floor.
Mr Smith accepted council planners’ arguments, saying the extension would not fit in with other buildings in the area, since the extension’s roof would not match the pub’s pitched roof.
However, he accepted the principle of using the site for a shop, acknowledging it would generate jobs.
Mr Smith also pointed out concerns over increased traffic to and from a shop were not supported by highways experts.
Supermarket rival Tesco has plans to open a convenient store in nearby Butt Road, but the council has yet to make a decision on its proposals.