MOre than 1,000 people have signed a pub’s petition protesting against plans to expand Bradbeers department store in Romsey’s Cornmarket.
Customers at the Tudor Rose are fighting the scheme which would see a new glass-fronted building replace the former Stares Butchery and old Oxfam bookshop next door to the pub.
Landlady of the Tudor Rose, Lisa Moore said the proposals will have a devastating impact on the historic Grade II listed pub.
“We will lose all the sunlight in the pub garden because the proposed building is so high and customers won’t want to sit outside because it will be so dark and cold.”
Lisa added: “Buildings like the Tudor Rose are part of the country’s heritage to be enjoyed by ourselves and future generations and they cannot be replaced, therefore they should be protected while in our care.
“Medieval beamed buildings are now rare but the Tudor Rose is much more than just a building as it is a hub for people to meet and soak in the ambience of the surroundings,” added Lisa, who said she was delighted with the support for her petition.
Pub regular Geraldine Mead is vehemently opposed to Bradbeers plans.
“This is absolutely and utterly disgraceful and one day people will realise that Bradbeers doesn’t own Romsey. If Bradbeers get permission what next?” she asked.
Tourists to the town have criticised the scheme including Andrew Dixon from Somerset, a regular visitor to Romsey and the Tudor Rose.
“The area has already been modernised and spoilt by Bradbeers and now I see they want to take this even further by demolishing more old buildings to expand their empire,”said Mr Dixon in a letter to Test Valley Borough Council.
Romsey Town Council opposed Bradbeers’ original expansion plans submitted in 2012, but has backed the revised scheme which will have a lower roofline.
Bradbeers’ MD Greg Davies explained the changes: “The roofline facing the Cornmarket has been lowered below the roofline of the Tudor Rose enabling it to be subservient to the Tudor Rose and the Dolphin (now part of Bradbeers department store and restaurant).”
He added: “The frontline of the building, not detracting from the prominence of the Tudor Rose and Dolphin. The new facade reflects what we have already constructed in the Florence Courtyard linking the Dolphin to the main store. It’s a modern design but retaining many traditional features such as a slate pitched roof and solid oak timber pillars.” Mr Davies said he was aware of the Tudor Rose’s opposition.
“Our response is, our development faces east to the Tudor Rose and by the time their customers use this space for lunch the sun has moved around and there is no loss of sunlight,” he said.
“This application was submitted a very long time ago and we will watch the out of town retail threat to Romsey town centre very carefully before making any decision on a multi-million town centre project,” concluded Mr Davies.