WORK to demolish a former pub has begun before the site is transformed into a food store.
The Pink Domino, in Hartlepool’s Catcote Road, is being flattened and replaced with a new Farmfoods store creating 15 new jobs,
Metal fences have been erected around the pub and car park in the past week and metal shutters fixed to the windows.
Work to strip timber from inside the pub started yesterday morning and the demolition work is expected to last a fortnight.
The work is being carried out by the John Wade group and officials say up to five people will be working on the project.
Plans for the new food store were approved by Hartlepool Borough Council’s planning committee despite vocal objections from devastated residents angry over the loss of their local pub.
They argued it should remain as a pub because of a covenant dating back to when the council owned the land and concerns around the new store’s location, traffic and road safety were also raised.
But planners said the covenant was a civil matter and officers say they cannot reasonably withhold its release.
Now the building, which is located on the corner of Catcote Road and Brierton Lane, is set to be flattened.
It was agreed at a recent meeting that half of the money from releasing the covenant would go back into the community with residents and local councillors all having a say about how the cash will be spent.
Independent councillor Paul Thompson, portfolio holder for finance and corporate services, agreed the covenant plans with the rest of the cash going into the council’s capital receipts pot.
Coun Thompson stressed at the meeting that the council was not responsible for shutting the pub and that it was a private business.
Speaking at the meeting he added: “Let’s use 50 per cent of the money for the residents in that area and it should mean the ward members can do something meaningful.”
Ahead of last year’s planning meeting, officers had received a total of 180 objections in the form of letters and a petition but planning officers said the positives of the development outweighed the loss of the building, while Farmfoods said the pub was no longer viable.
An Enterprise Inns spokesman said the decision had been taken after “careful consideration”.
When it opens, the proposed opening hours for the new Farmfoods store are 7am-10pm Monday to Friday, 7am-8pm on Saturday and 10am-4pm on Sunday