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    Kettering pub to become convenience store

    The Harlequin, in Kettering (Photo: Google Streetview via LDRS)

    By: Nadia Lincoln, Local Democracy Reporter

    A Northamptonshire pub will soon be transformed into a convenience store after the council approved plans last week. The Harlequin, on 136 Stamford Road, Kettering, will not return to serve the community as a public house, swapping pulling pints for stocking shelves on the shop floor.

    The venue was owned by leading independent brewing and pub retailing chain Marston’s and closed down in November 2022. At the beginning of 2023, the Harlequin was put up for sale by the company along with 60 other venues across the country.

    Attempts were made to sell the venue to be reopened again as a pub, but operators deemed the business not to be viable and efforts were unsuccessful.

    One side of The Harlequin will make up the new shop floor and trading area. Floor plans show proposals to remove the raised stage and knock through the bathrooms and kitchen to maximise space on the right side of the building.

    What used to be the bar area and lounge on the other side of the pub will become a storeroom and office. The exterior is to remain largely the same, apart from the addition of three disabled parking spaces off Stamford Road, where the beer garden used to be.

    According to planning documents, the shop would be open from 7am to 11pm all week, including Sundays and bank holidays.

    Five objections from members of the public were submitted to the plans, mostly taking issue with the change of use to a shop and the loss of the community pub. However, Kettering Town Council responded to the consultation, fully supporting the change of use.

    One person wrote: “This is the only public house on the Grange Estate, this is just another money-making scheme for the rich!

    “As soon as you grant change of use it will be another application to make it into flats. This is a public house for the people of the Grange Estate and should stay that way!”

    Another wrote: “Another shop?! The residents of Stamford road and Grange do not want another shop they have great facilities anyway. One shop could potentially close two already in business paying rent and council payments.”

    Planning officers at North Northamptonshire Council said in their report: “The change of use from public house to residential cannot be construed to mean an actual loss of the public house bearing in mind that same subject property has been vacant for years.

    “There is no reason significant reason to question the narrative of the lack of viability of running the public house. Given the lack of interest following marketing… a shop is considered acceptable in this location.”

    It is estimated the new store will take on a total of two full-time and four part-time employees when it is up and running.

    North Northamptonshire Council approved the plans on March 4, subject to conditions.

    (Local Democracy Reporting Service)

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