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Residents vow to "fight to the end" after McDonalds submit plans for The Bittern pub
7:00am Monday 23rd December 2013 in News
“WE’LL fight to the bitter end.”
That is the message from |campaigners as they make a last stand in their bid to save their beloved pub from the bulldozers.
Fast food giant McDonald’s has submitted a planning application to knock down The Bittern in Southampton and replace it with a 24-hour takeaway.
As revealed by the Daily Echo, pub owners Punch Taverns exchanged contracts with McDonald’s over the sale of the site earlier this year – despite campaigners offering to buy it at market value.
Backed by Itchen MP John Denham, they have battled against the proposals and plan to continue their fight through the planning process.
It is thought the building was originally built as a post office during the First World War, and was then converted to a pub during the 1930s.
McDonald’s plans for the site in Thornhill Park Road are for a 659 sq m, two-storey restaurant with a drive through and 38 car parking spaces. The company says the restaurant would operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and create 65 jobs.
The plans are likely to go before Southampton City Council’s planning panel in January or February.
And although they will be determined on planning matters, the campaigners believe they have sufficient ammunition to convince the panel to throw the plans out.
The restaurant’s operating hours and the fact that the pub was designated Southampton’s first-ever community asset earlier this year are likely to be included in arguments to save it.
Pub manager and campaigner Glen McInnes said: “We’re not loving it – we know it will be a struggle but we’re going to fight this to the end.
“Traffic on Thornhill Park Road is already a nightmare and that is only going to get worse if these plans are approved.
“It’s the city’s first community asset, yet McDonald’s and Punch Taverns don’t care about that.”
A spokesman for McDonald’s said the plan would bring new jobs and training, and added: |“I can confirm that we have a contract in place with Punch Taverns which will see us receive ownership of the site if our application is successful.”
A spokesman for Punch said: “We look to consider all offers submitted, and after we were approached with a significantly high offer the commercial decision was made to progress and exchange contracts.”
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