The ‘Wood & Vale’ reports;
“Local businesses are watching nervously as rumours continue to fly about the future of a Maida Vale pub after it was sold to mystery developers.
The Chippenham Hotel, in Shirland Avenue, has found itself at the centre of concerns as it is believed Tesco could be interested in taking over the premises.
The building was sold by Punch Taverns to an investment company called Portinex back in May, and speculation has grown in recent weeks that the supermarket giant could be moving in – much to the dismay of residents and business owners.
A sitting tenant remains in the pub and Tesco has neither confirmed or denied the rumours, telling the Wood&Vale: “At this time, we would not be able to say, but we have not signed a deal with them. We are always looking for new opportunities.”
All the same, the possibility has left neighbouring shops feeling unsettled.
Jihad Beaini, owner of West Way Food and Wine in Chippenham Road, said he would organise a petition opposing Tesco’s plans if the whispers were proved true.
He went on: “It’s a pub and it should stay as a pub. We don’t want a Tesco in the area. Nobody likes Tesco, they like small businesses.”
The shopkeeper at News and Wine in Shirland Avenue, who asked to remain anonymous, said Tesco would kill off her business, adding: “If it comes, it’s a real problem. They won’t care about affecting other shops.”
Maida Vale already has two small Tesco stores, in Clifton Road and in the Esso petrol station, but, according to Mr Beaini, Britain’s biggest supermarket chain has been interested in expanding for some time, even approaching him last year to see if he would sell his premises.
Across the country, Tesco has built up a reputation for snapping up pubs and turning them into convenience stores despite often facing resistance from the local community.
Paul Charlton, from the Campaign for Real Ale’s (Camra) west London branch, said if The Chippenham Hotel were to disappear, it would be a “sad loss to the community”.
He continued: “It is an interesting pub from Camra’s point of view because it’s got a recognisable historic interior.
“It’s a large corner site and I can quite see why convenience-store operators would wish to have it.”
The Chippenham Hotel’s landlords were unavailable for comment at the time of going to press”