The future of a Luton pub hangs in the balance as rumours are afoot that it could be turned into a supermarket.
Ashcroft Arms, on Ashcroft Road, was closed last month after the landlord of the pub was served notice by owner Punch Taverns.
A deal is reportedly in place to sell the pub to supermarket chain Morrisons, with a Punch Taverns spokesperson telling Luton News: “We are currently in negotiations with a potential leaseholder.”
Morrisons could not confirm whether a deal had been struck for the Ashcroft Arms, but revealed an interest in opening a store in the town.
A spokesperson said: “We’re always on the lookout for new opportunities where we can bring a Morrisons M local to.
“We’re looking at a number of sites in Luton and the surrounding area and look forward to sharing our plans with the community should any of these progress.”
Roy Chatto, chairman of South Beds Campaign for Real Ale, told Luton News: “280 pubs have been turned into supermarkets since January 2012.
CAMRA research has shown there is a loophole which means there doesn’t need to be planning permission when turning pubs into supermarkets.”
Wigmore councillor Alan Skepelhorn added his dissatisfaction at the rumoured deal.
He said: “Given that just 50 yards across the road from the site there are the LoCo and Onestop supermarkets, just a bit further up the road at the junction of Ashcroft Road and Turners Road is the Nisa supermarket and on Wigmore lane there is the Co-Op I wonder if another supermarket is really needed in the area.
“I would also be concerned that if the new shop was owned by any of the big four chains, that would use their national pricing policies to try and rid themselves of the local competition and in the end we will lose the local shops.”