The people have had their say – and the vast majority would welcome a JD Wetherspoon pub in Alnwick’s Corn Exchange.
In October, the Gazette revealed that the national pub giant had submitted a planning application for the £1.3million scheme, which the company says will create 40 jobs.
But then, in November, members of the town’s Chamber of Trade came out in opposition to the plans, voicing concerns including that it will have a ‘major impact’ on the town centre.
Their position caused a backlash, particularly online on Facebook, and since then the Gazette has been running a poll online and in the paper to gauge the views of the town and area’s residents.
And now with the results in, from nearly 1,000 votes cast, it appears that most would welcome Wetherspoon’s arrival in Alnwick.
Overall, 993 people voted online and using the paper form and 72 per cent (718) said yes to wanting the pub in the Corn Exchange. Just 275 people said no.
The main reason for supporting the plans was that ‘it will be great for business and jobs and will attract more people to the town’, accounting for more than 60 per cent of the yes vote.
Others were in favour because ‘it will rescue a dilapidated building’ (24 per cent) and some supported it for both these reasons.
Nearly 70 people said that they were not from Alnwick but would visit more often if there was a Wetherspoon’s.
The most popular reason for voting against the plans was that ‘Alnwick doesn’t need more multi-national companies – keep it quaint’. Just less than half of the no vote selected this option.
The next most popular reason in opposition to the plans was that ‘it will draw trade away from the town centre and harm other businesses’, which had 22 per cent of the no vote.
Most of the respondents in our poll voted online, where 676 voted yes (72 per cent) and 276 voted no (28 per cent).
Nearly 50 people voted via the paper forms, but the split between yes and no was even more stark. 42 people voted yes (88 per cent), with just six people against the plans (12 per cent).