Swan and Sugar-loaf petition signed by 600
HUNDREDS of residents and traders have signed a petition urging a U-turn on plans to transform an historic pub into a Tesco store.
Close to 600 people have signed up to a campaign urging the Whitgift Foundation to pull out of its deal with the supermarket giant.
This would allow Tesco to open a convenience store at the site of the former Swan and Sugar-loaf pub in Brighton Road.
Members of the opposition campaign presented the petition at the Foundation's office on Tuesday.
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Opponents claim the proposals for the disused pub threaten the livelihoods of traders.
But the Foundation is telling the traders and residents that it has no option but to go for a deal with Tesco if it is to prevent the pub falling into further disrepair.
Teacher Charlotte Davies, of Temple Road, South Croydon, said after presenting the petition: "The shopkeepers are genuinely quite frightened about what will happen to them if Tesco opens.
"We have found that residents are fully behind them and people have just been coming in to the shops to sign the petition.
"We have not put any pressure on them at all."
But Ms Davies feared the protest may have little effect on the Foundation.
She said: "I am not optimistic because I am convinced the Foundation is not in touch with the community."
Giorgio Raffaelli, who owns the La Spezia delicatessen in Selsdon Road, said he was concerned for the future of his business, which he has built up steadily since it opened eight years ago.
He said: "We hope the Foundation will change its mind, but if we do not win we will have let them know there is a force here which is prepared to fight them."
The Foundation's reasons for backing the Tesco deal were outlined in a letter to Ms Davies from its marketing and communications manager, Catherine Shirley. She wrote: "The only interest generated to lease the commercial building was from supermarket chains and Tesco offered us the capacity and resource to restore the building back to its former glory."
The letter added: "Given that the building is of visual merit as well as being locally listed, Tesco are ensuring that the proposed works to renovate this building will be of a sympathetic nature to retain the building's character."
But Ms Davies said the livelihood of more than 20 people who own or work in small shops would be threatened by Tesco.
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