A former village pub will be converted into a new shop despite a strong campaign against the plans. 

Redevelopment work is due to start at The Beehive pub in Fishburn after a proposal to convert the site into a convenience store was approved.

Hundreds of people living in the County Durham village and the nearby area signed a petition and warned the plans would exacerbate traffic and parking issues - increasing the chances of crashes - and impact child safety. 

Residents said the village is a bottleneck - particularly during school times - and there have been many near-misses on nearby roads. A total of 30 letters of objection as well as the petition with approximately 250 signatures were submitted to Durham County Council. 

“Cars speeding through the village have caused several accidents and near-misses at the nearby crossroads and zebra crossing,” a statement from Fishburn Parish Council read. 

“Converting the building, which is of historical significance, would significantly alter the façade of the building. Safety improvements are required so that vehicles could safely use the retail premises.”

The historical significance of the building was also noted by residents. Claims that there is a covenant on the building, which requires it to be retained as a pub, and that the site has Listed status were disputed by the county council’s planning authority. 

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Other concerns detailed how the village is “not big enough” to accommodate a further shop and how it could harm nearby businesses. 

Yet, the applicant Kavitha Thirumalai defended the plans and said it would help bring a disused building back into beneficial use. They added that it will provide a significant investment in Fishburn and the shop will be staffed by local people.

“It will ensure the longevity and conservation of a local heritage asset,” a statement added. 

The new shop will be open from 6am to 11pm every day and is proposed to provide a variety of grocery products, frozen and fresh foods.