CONCERNS for the safety of children and an impact on local businesses remain as works on a village convenience store near completion.

The Leader reported earlier this year how works to convert the Red Lion pub in Hope into a convenience store, to be leased and operated by the Co-op, had begun.

Hope councillor Gladys Healey said she was “furious” about the scheme and had concerns about the impact such a store would have on local businesses as well as the safety of children should the store attract more traffic along the main road.

Cllr Healey said in recent days that works have been continuing at the site, which she said appears to be "nearly completed" and that her worries still exist.

The Leader:

Cllr Gladys Healey outside the Red Lion site earlier this year

Among them are the impact on the nearby Lion Stores in Fagl Lane.

Owner Tracey Bowgett said previously that she feared a shop such as the Co-op could quickly put her out of business.

"I still do think it's going to kill the Lion Stores," Cllr Healey told the Leader.

"The Co-op will take business away from small village businesses like that.

"And I still feel the building would have been better being kept as a pub. "It would have been ideal for families to go to for meals."

The Leader:

How the Red Lion site looked earlier this year

Speaking of one of her biggest worries about the development, Cllr Healey said: "I am still worried about children crossing that main road. "It's already dangerous and at three o'clock when the school nearby comes out and there are parents parking and people going to the Co-op, it's a big accident waiting to happen. "It might not be a big problem now because of coronavirus, but when that is gone and the store is finished, the traffic in Hope is going to be horrendous."

A spokesman for Co-op said: “We look forward to having the opportunity to serve the community later this year.

"Co-op marked its 175th anniversary last year, serving communities in Wales since the1800's where it is committed to creating value locally through support for local suppliers, local causes and delivering what our members and customers want and need, conveniently.”

A spokesman for the building's owner said: "We have had a really positive response from the community who seem pleased to have a new food store opening locally.

"I think people are also more aware than ever how important it is to have local fresh food available locally for more vulnerable members of the community to access.

"I’m pleased that despite the challenges posed by coronavirus we have remained on track to hand the store over to co-op for fit out on time.

"I’m sure the jobs they create will be especially welcome in these uncertain times."