Residents in Johnstone Castle have sprung into action to try and save the areas only public house.
The owner of The Hazel Arms building has applied for planning permission to change the use of the premises from a Public House to a Class 1 shop and installation of new shopfront and ATM.
The Hazel Arms, on Hazel Avenue, is the only bar in Johnstone Castle and there is a fear that taking away the bar will “rip the heart” out of Johnstone Castle community with the pub being a long standing establishment since the scheme was built.
Campaigners are worried about the large number of older people who rely on it for company and to have a place to go. They have stressed the fact that they wouldn’t have anywhere to go to combat loneliness and isolation.
Over provision is another factor as there is already a large convenience store directly across from The Hazel Arms. Another store, with a Post Office inside, is only a few minutes around the corner in nearby Sycamore Avenue.
Congestion at Hazel Avenue is already bad at certain times of the day and another convenience store will only add more traffic, it is believed.
Lizzy Friel, Chair of Johnstone Castle Tenants and Residents Association, said: “After we spoke to other residents and local businesses we have decided to object to these plans.
“We got together with staff and customers from The Hazel Arms to sign letters objecting to the plans.
“Taking away the Public House will rip the heart out of Johnstone Castle. It has been a long standing establishment since the scheme was built and there will be no sense of community spirit if we lose it.
“The Hazel Arms host numerous charity and community events including private functions as well as the local TRA meetings.”
Lizzy is encouraging residents to get involved and object to the planning application. She added: “We’ve printed out letters and these have been placed in every local business, within Johnstone Castle, who are all against the idea.
“Once the letters are returned we will deliver them to Renfrewshire Council.
“The objections need to be in for Tuesday 31st of August so if everyone who is wanting to sign a letter will need to do so by Sunday.”
Photo: Plan submitted by CPS Architects to Renfrewshire Council on how the store could look
Lizzy continued: “Anyone who wants to support this can pop in to any of the following businesses and sign a letter. In Hazel Avenue at Avalano hairdressers and Nisa Convenience Store. In Sycamore Avenue letters can be found in Jav’s Premier store, Joe’s Butchers , Reach Pharmacy and the Castle Cafe.
“In Johnstone centre Hair Pod, Hair Pod Beauty on the High street and Tasty Cafe in Colliers Street.”
A Renfrewshire Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm we have received a planning application which is currently being assessed by officers.
“Plans are available to view on the Council website and anyone wishing to comment on the application can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Renfrewshire News has attempted to reach the owners of The Hazel Arms building and the architect behind the plans for comment unfortunately we have been unable to make contact with either.