COUNCILLORS in Bishop Auckland have vowed to fight plans to demolish a landmark pub to make way for a retail unit and takeaway.

At a planning meeting of Bishop Auckland Town Council it was decided the authority would submit the “strongest objection” possible to proposals to pull down derelict pub and hotel The Aclet.

Last month saw plans unveiled for the site on which developers hope to build a 280sqm Spar convenience store and a 106sqm hot food takeaway, for which an operator has not yet been secured.

However, Cllr Leanda Chappell and her colleagues on Tuesday night raised concerns about the “controversial application” which they said would have a negative impact on the health of residents, would attract anti-social behaviour and would unnecessarily add to the increasing number of retail and takeaways in the town.

Cllr Chappell said: “Ninety per cent of the residents around that area are elderly, very elderly and frail, and to put in a takeaway that is going to be open till 11pm every night, with all the associated problems that we know come with takeaways, has left these people absolutely horrified.

“It would be detrimental to the health and wellbeing of the people surrounding that place to have a takeaway.”

Campaigners led a two-year fight against the closure of the pub on the edge of Woodhouse Close Estate which was described as a neighbourhood hub.

More than 200 residents, backed by the town’s MP Helen Goodman, took the battle but last summer a judge ruled that the premises could be sold.

The disused building was then gutted by a suspected arson attack on Boxing Day, 2017, and has since been deemed unsafe, is boarded-up and fenced off while a police investigation continues.

Nine objections have been submitted to Durham County Council detailing similar concerns about noise disturbance, smells and fumes.

Among them is an objection from Aclet Close Nursery School and a petition with an unknown number of signatures due to blanking out for data protection.

Cllr Tanya Tucker said has spoken to residents in the area on three occasions and had concluded they “just do not want it.

She added she was in favour of “some sort of development” but the town did not need any more businesses “commercial in this way”.

Cllr Tucker said: “There isn’t any single person I’ve spoken to who is in favour.

“Where it is, that plot, is right for some sort of development but how many more retail units, supermarkets and takeaways does Bishop need?

“We need to be attracting different types of businesses.

“I speak to people and when I say where I’m from and who I represent they will say ‘so which is your nearest supermarket’ - we’re becoming a standing joke because we’ve got so many.”