Battle against supermarket plan for Bristol pub
By The Bristol Post | Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 05:05
A KINGSWOOD resident has launched a campaign to stop another much-loved local pub being turned into a supermarket.
Councillor Fabian Beckels and resident Barry Russell at The Chequers Photo: Dave Betts DB2012 12118C-004_C
Barry Russell, 67, is trying to get the attention of local councillors and MPs to support his bid to save the Chequers pub in Lodge Road.
The pub, which is owned by Enterprise Inns, closed a few years ago and since then the mock Tudor building has fallen into disrepair, including becoming victim to a suspected arson attack last year.
In a recent newsletter, the Bristol and District branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) reported that supermarket chain Morrisons was interested in buying the building.
Mr Russell, who is retired and lives in Ingleside Road, said: "I and many local residents have used this pub for years, and it has always been a major part of the community.
"I know things are hard for the pub trade but I believe the building has been allowed to deteriorate purposely by the owners with the intention of selling it off for housing or to a supermarket.
"We do not want or indeed need anymore housing or supermarkets.
"We have a Tesco at the Bell in Bell Hill Road and a Co-op nearing completion at the Lord Rodney, also in Bell Hill Road.
"Plans were approved to refurbish the Chequers by Bristol City Council in August last year but these never happened.
"It used to be such a wonderful pub that was very popular with families in Kingswood.
"There was good food and great entertainment – on Saturdays you had to get there at 8.30pm to make sure you got a seat.
"It would be great if the pub could reopen – it's a wonderful community asset and should not just be left and forgotten."
So far Mr Russell has garnered support from local councillor Fabian Breckels (Labour/Co-operative Party, St George East), and he would like other residents to contact the councillor if they want to join him in his fight to save the pub.
Mr Breckels said: "I support the campaign because the Chequers is a much-needed community asset.
"Too many Bristol pubs have closed in the past and this one is in an ideal location where it can serve the local community.
"What's needed here is a good food- orientated pub.
"I've eaten in the Chequers before when it was open.
"It is a pub with great potential and Enterprise Inns need to keep their promise and get it reopened."
A spokeswoman for Enterprise Inns said: "It is always our preference that our sites continue to trade as pubs.
"However, as part of our ongoing business, we do from time to time identify pubs that may no longer have a long-term future in our estate.
"We are exploring all options for the Chequers but no decision has been made at this stage."
A spokeswoman for Morrisons could not confirm or deny the supermarket's interest in the pub.
She said the company did not comment on speculation about its acquisitions.