Ipswich: MP joins fight to save historic Emperor Inn as Tesco plans new store

Local residents and councilors are campaigning against Tesco's application to turn the Emperor Pub i

Local residents and councilors are campaigning against Tesco's application to turn the Emperor Pub in Ipswich into a store - Credit: Archant

AN Ipswich MP has given his backing to a campaign mounted to stop Tesco moving into a treasured town pub.

The supermarket giant has its sights set on the Emperor Inn in Norwich Road, and a planning application has been submitted to Ipswich Borough Council to extend the first floor and alter the access to the building and car park.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer has written to the IBC case officer dealing with the application backing campaigners. In it he highlights the important role the pub plays in the community, and reiterates concerns for other local businesses.

The letter states: “I understand that there are over two hundred members of a Facebook group dedicated to The Emperor’s preservation and that a paper petition has attracted over three hundred signatures.

“There are several East of England Co-operative supermarkets in the area – including one very close to The Emperor on Norwich Road – as well as the large Sainsbury’s off Hadleigh Road. There are also a number of independent shops within easy walking distance of the site. It is therefore, unclear as to why any new supermarket is needed.”

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Carole Jones, borough councillor and member of IBC’s planning committee said while she has real “sympathy” with the campaigners, planning rules mean Tesco do not have to apply for permission to change the pub into a store.

“My concerns are for the loss of a community facility and I have real sympathy with campaigners,” she said. “Unfortunately planning rules are such that Tesco don’t have to ask for permission to change the use of the pub into a store. The application deals only with the modifications to the building.

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“I have tried to help as much as I can, it is a lovely building with what we think is quite historic lettering on the front.”

A Tesco spokesman has told The Star: “In our experience, the stores provide a welcome lift to local shopping areas, bringing more people out to shop. We are always keen to meet local residents.”

It is hoped the Tesco Express will open this summer.

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