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Photo – Emily Outside The Woodstock Pub at Stonecot Hill

Plans to replace The Woodstock Pub at Stonecot Hill with a new Asda store were unveiled at a public exhibition today. Following the Viewing, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sutton and Cheam, Emily Brothers said:
“I’m concerned about proposals to replace The Woodstock Pub with a new Asda store. Too many community hubs like The Woodstock Pub are being replaced by supermarkets. In this case right next door to a smaller Co-op store which will find it difficult to compete.
“There will be a negative impact on local convenience stores and newsagents, not just the co-op’s trade and jobs. This will be a retrograde step for Stonecot Hill residents and business community.”

Photo – Emily Outside The Co-op in Stonecot

“I’m told by the brewery that they are being charged £62,000 this year in Business Rates alone by Lib Dem Sutton Council. That’s why I’m asking Sutton Council to review the rateable value, as well as asking local people to continue the pub’s viability by using it.
“An estimated 26 pubs are closing each week in Britain and the large chains of pub companies (PubCos) have been accused of giving landlords a raw deal, with many paying over the odds for their alcoholic products. That’s why I’m calling for legislation to introduce a statutory code protecting landlords and ensuring they are no longer exploited in their relationship with pub companies.
“As campaigners have demanded, the code must include a free-of-tie option, open market rent reviews and an independent pubs adjudicator. This would give every landlord the choice to go free-of-tie, allowing licencees to operate in a more competitive market.
“Pubs are vital hubs for communities across Sutton and Cheam and are valued strongly by local people, but due to the coalition government’s inaction and broken promises on backing landlords and breweries, they are closing at an ever-increasing rate.
“The closure of a pub hits local economies by an average of £80,000 each time a pub shuts.
“We need to back The Woodstock’s customers and help prevent further pub closures across our borough. That’s why I object to the in principle proposal and will seek to improve ASDA’s plans before they are submitted.
“Traffic flows are already heavy, so I think some significant re-design of the road network with an improved crossing is essential. Any new building should blend better with surrounding features and have better landscaping.
“If ASDA are to bring about the demise of this well known local leisure facility that has featured bands such as The Who and The Hollies, they should invest in the local area to secure a sustainable future for residents and other businesses. Moreover, Lib Dem Sutton Council should rethink their cursory attitude towards small businesses and make the planning system work in the interests of local people.”

Photo – The Woodstock Pub in Stonecot

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