AN Exeter landmark hotel and pub could soon become a convenience store.
The Southern Co-op has leased the Crawford Hotel in Alphington Road from Enterprise Inns.
It plans to create a ground-floor convenience store with flats developed in the bedrooms above.
It will be the first Southern Co-op store in the city and, if given the go-ahead, will provide about 20 jobs.
A spokeswoman for Enterprise Inns, which owns the Crawford Hotel, said: "As part of our ongoing business, we do from time to time identify a pub which is unable to deliver an appropriate level of sustainable income.
"After careful consideration and a review of all options for the Crawford Hotel, the decision has been made to lease the property to the Southern Co-operative, and we look forward to seeing the site return as an important community asset on this key route into Exeter."
A planning directive was placed on the building last September to ensure its frontage is protected.
Resident and historian Christine Trigger said she has concerns about the plan.
Mrs Trigger said: "This is going to generate quite a bit of traffic, especially as you will have cars cutting across traffic to turn right into the store.
"Also, I think the scheme for a convenience store and flats above is a bit of a mis-match and I don't think it will blend into the local district."
Alphington city councillor Margaret Clark backed the plan.
She said: "As this building has looked unsightly for a year I am very pleased these proposals have come forward. I am also reassured that the application is to convert the existing building so its locally listed features can be retained.
"I will await the Devon County Council highways assessment on the potential impact of customers accessing and leaving the store on traffic flows along Alphington Road with interest, as this will be part of the application which members of the planning committee will need to consider."
The Southern Co-operative confirmed that it has leased the former Crawford Hotel from Enterprise Inns with the intention of creating a convenience store on the ground floor, and a planning application has been submitted to convert the upstairs former hotel bedrooms into flats.
A spokeswoman said: "TSC will be carrying out a sympathetic renovation of the building and is working with Exeter City Council's conservation officer on the designs.
"The Southern Co-operative is an independent regional co-operative society which has around 170 community food stores across southern England; being part of and supporting the community is at the heart of its business ethos. An opening date for the store has yet to be confirmed."
Originally a family home, the Crawford Hotel dates back to the 1840s. It was a private residence for the Claridge's timber merchant family until the late 1930s when it became a pub. It was popular with farmers when the old cattle market was open.
It served as an off-licence and people used to take their own jugs along to get them filled up with beer or ale.