SUPERMARKET giant Tesco is poised to open its tenth store in the Worthing area, at the former Dolphin pub in East Worthing.
When asked by the Herald, Tesco confirmed its interest in opening an Express store at the former pub – not the first time it has looked at a former licensed premesis.
In 2009, it opened the Express store in Chapel Road, Worthing, which had been home to Yates’s bar.
Bruce Webster, a member of the Campaign for Real Ale, of Heene Road, Worthing, has launched a petition to save The Dolphin, and there are concerns for the future of the Premier Dominion Road convenience store, opposite the site.
Manager Olatunji Sasi said: “This is definitely going to affect us in a big way and we might have to find somewhere else to go.
“It will be hard for us to compete with the prices but it will be the customers who lose out in the long run.
“This is a massive blow for us and a lot of local residents have been very angry about it – if the shop closes, then the post office closes, too, and people will have to go by bus into the town centre, which is not what they want.
“We sell items here that Tesco will not sell, and we have more options in terms of price.”
Mr Webster said: “The Dolphin has been an essential part of the community and it has an interesting history.
“It has been the venue for many weddings, anniversaries and parties, has a football team which has been going for 40 years, which is now homeless, and has darts and pool teams.
“It is important to local residents and it has a life that needs protecting.”
Denise Packham, deputy manager of Kingfisher Pre-School, which is opposite The Dolphin, said: “I would rather see a Tesco there than a pub, but it will cause increased traffic on what is already a very busy road and it will take the convenience store’s business.”
Retired Susan Nicols, of Dominion Road, said: “I will be furious if Worthing Borough Council lets this happen. It will really damage whatever is just about surviving in this area at the moment. It seems really unnecessary to have another Tesco, we do not want another big company like that round here.”
Gavin Peters, 51, of Sackville Road, said: “A new Tesco will increase the traffic in the area which is already at a dangerous level without adding anything else into the mix, so I really hope that common sense prevails here.”
David Jones, 63, of King Edward Avenue, said: “This is just another example of Tesco taking over the world and I think it is a real shame if something that is good for the community cannot be done here.”
Punch Taverns confirmed the pub was sold on January 24, and a Tesco spokesman said: “Our proposed store would offer a fantastic range of fresh groceries and convenience goods as well as providing 20 jobs for local people. We’re keen to bring back to life a derelict building and believe that a convenience store would be well used. We’ll be consulting with the community before submitting applications.”
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