A BITTER battle could be brewing between pub campaigners and property bosses who want to bulldoze or build next to a string of borough boozers to make way for convenience stores - one of which would be sited just yards from the Oldswinford Tesco Express.

According to a Dudley Council briefing document, retail investment firm NewRiver Retail Ltd wants to demolish the historic Bird in Hand pub on Hagley Road to make way for a new Co-operative retail outlet just a stone's throw from the busy Tesco/petrol station.

The plan to call last orders at the pub is likely to spark outcry in Oldswinford as the boozer is listed on Dudley Council's historic environment record and is situated within an area considered to have high historic townscape value.

Mike Wood, Pedmore and Stourbridge East ward councillor, said: "The Bird in Hand is a popular local pub - and I don't think Oldswinford needs another convenience store with the Tesco and other two petrol stations along Hagley Road. I'd much rather see work being done to find ways to keep it open than find ways to knock it down."

Si Genner, Halesowen and Stourbridge CAMRA pubs preservation officer, said: "I think there might be very strong support for the pub staying where it is because of the character of Oldswinford."

Simon Hanson, Halesowen and Stourbridge CAMRA's press officer, added: "CAMRA is all about preserving pubs and the Bird in Hand does sell real ale. There's enough shops up there."

NewRiver Retail has also outlined its intention to develop Co-operative stores on the car parks of the Hare and Hounds in Wollescote; The Bridge Inn and the Old Court House Hotel, Kingswinford, and the Ashwood Inn in Wordsley.

Objectors have already spoken out over the plan for the Ashwood - as the proposed new store would likely threaten plans to re-occupy a row of derelict shops opposite.

And this week Cllr Richard Body spoke of his dismay at the plan to build a new shop on the car park of the Hare & Hound, Wollescote, as there are already traffic problems in the area.

He said: "You'll have a pub next to a very bad junction with only seven parking spaces; you'll have cars parked all the way down going to a really bad junction on a bus route.

"It's going to cause absolutely chaos - and it won't attract any more business; it will take it off the others there. Just down the road there are two stores - a Costcutter and a general off-licence and newspaper shop. It means you'll have three on one road all doing exactly the same thing."

NewRiver also wants to create a Co-op store on the car park of The Crown, Netherton; to convert the Hasbury Inn, Hagley Road, Halesowen, into a convenience store; and to demolish another four pubs in the Halesowen and Dudley areas.

A spokesman for Dudley Council said no planning applications have yet been lodged and a spokesman for NewRiver, which has a portfolio of 202 pubs suitable for conversion to other uses, said: “We are in pre-application discussions with Dudley Council about a number of pub sites which were acquired at the end of 2013 from Marston’s plc.

"The nature and timing of any planning applications have not yet been finalised, but when they are, we will be taking steps to inform the local community.”