CAMPAIGNERS fighting against the opening of a convenience store have called for the council to use a planning law which could halt it.

Members of the Furze Platt Action Group have written an open letter to leader of the Royal Borough, councillor David Burbage, asking for an 'Article Four Direction' to be used on the site of the former The Golden Harp pub, in Furze Platt Road, Maidenhead, in a bid to stop Tesco converting the pub into an Express store.

Tesco has submitted six planning applications for interior and exterior changes to The Golden Harp, which are due to be heard by the Maidenhead Development Control Panel on Wednesday next week at the Town Hall, in St Ives Road, Maidenhead, from 7.30pm.

An 'Article Four Direction' suspends permitted development rights - changes which do not require planning permission such as the conversion of a pub into a shop - meaning a planning application would have to be submitted by the developer.

The letter reads: "What we are concerned about is the consequences of a relaxation in the planning use classes whereby Tesco and other supermarkets can avoid applying for full planning permission and thus they avoid the scrutiny by public and council members that this entails."

The measure is being considered by the Royal Borough with legal channels being explored.

An email from head of planning Simon Hurrell to the chairman of the action group states: "We have liaised with the Furze Platt residents about the principle of an Article 4 direction, and are taking legal advice on this as a matter of urgency."

A council spokesman confirmed the Royal Borough was seeking legal advice on the matter.

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