Porcupine pub campaigners secure a debate in Parliament
The Porcupine pub in Bromley, South East London is at the centre of a campaign to save it from demolition.
The pub's building can be dated back as far as the 1920's. It was closed unexpectedly in late March. Residents and locals feared that the pub had been sold to a large chain supermarket, although no planning applications had been submitted. Pub campaigners have since discovered that the building has been sold told German supermarket chain Lidl by pub company Enterprise Inns. Lidl plan to demolish the pub and build a new branch of the store, which already has a 500 store presence across the UK.
A passionate community campaign has now formed in the local area. Campaigner David Bingley told BBC News: "This isn't just some ordinary bit of suburbia somewhere. This is a village with a really strong identity. The local trades people have been here for years. We want to protect them."
The community campaign has earned the support from local MP and former Community Pubs Minister Bob Neill, as well as current community pubs minister Brandon Lewis. Both MPs visited the site last week to attend a rally organisers by Save the Porcupine campaigners.
Pub campaigners have also created an online petition, entitled ‘Bromley Council: Don't Let Lidl Destroy The Porcupine, Mottingham'.
Bob Neill MP has secured a parliamentary debate to be discussed on 21st May regarding the topic. The debate will discuss the questionable practices of both Enterprise Inns and Lidl UK. Mr Neill told the Publicans Morning Advertiser: "Lidl needs to get a grip- and fast. I have never seen any major supermarket firm adopt such a heavy handed and dismissive attitude towards its prospective community. By employing such practices such secretive practices, and favouring bulldozers over consultation, the company's reputation has suffered irreparable damage locally, and it is surprise that residents are fighting back."