Goodbye to pub as food giant sets up shop in Purbrook

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SUPERMARKET giant Morrisons is opening a convenience store in the heart of Purbrook.

Waterlooville will be one of the first areas in the south to get a Morrisons M local – a new brand from the firm as its expands across the region.

Work is under way on fitting out the old Leopard Inn and local traders have heralded it as a boost.

But some residents are concerned the new store – which will have 14 parking spaces – could increase congestion on the busy London Road.

Gary Hughes, chairman of Purbrook and Widley Area Residents’ Association, said: ‘My biggest concern would be it adding to the traffic congestion in Purbrook village.

‘For traffic turning right, I think it will cause problems particularly when there’s going to be a school crossing going in.

‘Congestion will increase considerably. There’s not going to be a great deal of room for cars there.’

Treasurer Vic Pheasant said it was sad that Purbrook was losing another pub, with only The Woodman now left in the village.

But he said the work being done on the outside of the pub looked ‘quite respectable’.

Karen Hayward, owner of Bridal Dreamz in London Road, said: ‘It will be really good. There are a few shops in that road but it’s not a very busy street except for the cars. I’m all for it.’

The store is expected to open in early summer.

Tesco still has planning permission to open an Express store at the old petrol station site in Purbrook.

But after gaining planning approval three years ago, construction has yet to begin.

Morrisons did not have to apply to Havant Borough Council for planning permission because the building was a pub. But plans have been submitted for advertising signs.

Mr Pheasant said the main blight on the village continued to be the old petrol station site, which is now overgrown and tatty.

No-one from Tesco was available for comment yesterday.

A statement from Morrisons said: ‘We’re looking forward to bringing a Morrisons M local to Waterlooville and creating 20 new jobs for local people.

‘Fresh food will be at the heart of our offer and we will work hard to make our store a positive addition to the community.’