VILLAGERS at Woolavington have vowed to continue their battle to save their pub now plans to turn it into a shop have been submitted.

Box Property Group has applied for full planning permission to change the Prince of Wales pub, run by Punch Taverns, into a convenience store and extend the building.

The pub is still open, but Punch Taverns had put it on the market and The Co-operative said it is awaiting the outcome of the application “with interest”.

A Punch Taverns spokesman said: “We can confirm contracts have been exchanged with a potential purchaser who has submitted a planning application.”

Woolavington resident Carol Edney has been leading a campaign to save the pub by having it listed under the Community Right to Bid scheme. She said: “We’ve been told the pub has been bought by Box. We got it listed but this happened before. We’re not sure what that means.

“The community is very supportive of the campaign and has said if it becomes a village shop they will refuse to use it. We already have a brilliant village shop at the bottom of the hill.”

Paul Herbert, vice-chairman of Woolavington Parish Council, said 300 objections were received for an initial application for change of use from the pub to a store.

He added: “The feeling of the village is the same. We will study the plans and see if there is an objection we can make on planning grounds. It's happening all over the country and it's destroying communities - what happened to Localism?”

A spokesman for Box Property Group said: “The pub’s takings have been extremely low because people have not been using it enough.

“We only come in when it’s not viable as a pub any more and have been working with Punch to find an alternative use for it.

“We’d like to extend the building to provide a full, high quality convenience store for the people of Woolavington.” He added: “It will not be a Tesco”.

People have until June 2 to comment on SDC’s planning website, ref: 54/14/00007.