A COUNCILLOR has questioned plans to convert a landmark Stanford-le-Hope pub into a convenience store.

The Chelmsford Star Co-operative has applied for planning permission to turn the Cat Cracker pub, on The Sorrells, into a Co-operative store.

The store will have an onsite bakery, sandwiches, hot snack, chilled off-licence and food from local producers. Shoppers will be able to buy lottery tickets and postage stamps and pay bills via Paypoint.

But Phil Smith, the Stanford East and Corringham Town ward councillor, said he would sooner have seen the Cat Cracker remaining as a pub.

The pub closed earlier this year and was put up for sale before being bought by the Chelmsford Star Co-operative, which runs 38 stores across Essex.

Cllr Smith said: “The pub was under used, but it’s needed in the area. Now we’ve only got one pub in Corringham town centre.

“I’m pleased the Old Courthouse has reopened, but I would have liked the Catcracker to have been given the same opportunity and some investment.

“We’ve got a Co-op in Stanford-le-Hope and in Gardners Lane and numerous other small stores, such as on Abbott’s Drive and in the town centre. It’s a limited market.

“There’s always a danger other businesses could suffer, but those businesses know what they’re doing and I’m not going to scaremonger.

“But this market is already served by several businesses. I question why they think another convenience store is needed.”

But Stuart Hammond, head of food at Chelmsford Star Co-operative, said: “We look forward to bringing an essential service to the local community and hope local people.”

Plans for the pub will go before Thurrock Council’s planning committee before November 28.