The developer will knock down the popular pub to speculatively build a 16,000 sq ft store on Great Portwood Street.
Stockport Council’s planning committee approved Morbaine’s application despite reservations about the loss of the Railway pub, concluding that there were no planning grounds to warrant refusal.
Cllr Stuart Corris said that the committee was “over a barrel” and had no choice but to approve the application.
“If we refuse this application it will go to appeal and the planning inspectorate will approve it at the drop of a hat,” he said.
The loss of the pub was the main point of contention among committee members.
Cllr Graham Greenhalgh said “cherished amenities are being planned out of existence”, while Cllr Corris implored the council to engage with the pub’s landlord about the possibility of relocating the venue to another site in the town centre.
Cllr Wendy Meikle also expressed her disapproval of the plans to knock down the pub.
“This is not just a pub, it is an award winning pub and part of the character of Old Portwood,” she said.
Meanwhile, Cllr Iain Roberts questioned the suitability of the proposed scheme given the changing face of retail.
“I don’t think another out-of-town retail unit that everyone has to access by car is the optimal use of this site,” he said.
Cllr Brian Bagnall was also saddened that the pub would be lost but said there was nothing the planning committee could do to prevent its demolition as the council does not own the site.
“If the council wants to run the town centre then it has to buy the town centre and then it can do what it wants with it,” he said.
Located off Great Portwood Street and bounded by Brewery Street and Avenue Street, the site has long been earmarked for redevelopment.
In 2005, Stockport granted Morbaine permission for a 10,000 sq ft retail development on the plot. Six years later, Sainsbury’s lodged plans to build a 70,000 sq ft shop there. Sainsbury’s plans were later withdrawn.
Under the latest proposals, Morbaine proposes the creation of a store with a 10,000 sq ft ground floor and 6,000 sq ft mezzanine level.
As well as the pub, the existing Carpetright store would be demolished under Morbaine’s plans.
The developer predicts the project could increase turnover at the site by £900,000 a year.
The Harris Partnership is the architect for the Stockport project.
Previously, Morbaine has developed stores for Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Morrisons, among others.