A YORK pub being eyed by Tesco has been given a two-week reprieve while councillors try to find a way of stopping the supermarket taking over and closing the pub.

The Punch Bowl, in The Groves, is one of two pubs in the city currently under threat from the supermarket giant, and on Tuesday evening regulars took their campaign to save the pub to a City of York Council cabinet meeting.

The cabinet considered putting an Article 4 Direction on the site, which would stop the pub being converted into a supermarket without planning permission. But councillors held back from making the order and instead gave themselves two weeks to investigate all the options to help the pub.

Pub regular Paul Gillier spoke at the meeting, telling councillors how important the Punch Bowl is to the community.

Watch his speech below, beginning at 1m 25s:

Mr Gillier, who is registered blind, said the pub gives him a space outside his home where he feels safe and secure.

“I have never known, in 15 years of going there, any problems at the pub,” he said. “It’s a community pub, there for socialising rather than getting drunk.”

In a written report, the council’s principal development management officer recommended the cabinet did not make the Article 4 directive, saying it would open the council up to compensation claims.

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition supporting the pub, and regulars asked the Campaign for Real Ale to apply for the Article 4 Direction for their local.

Paul Crossman, landlord of The Swan in Bishopthorpe Road and co-owner of The Slip, The Volunteer Arms and The Woolpack, urged the council to develop a strategy to deal with the potential threat to pubs.

Since the meeting, Camra has welcomed the decision to look at all ways of protecting the Punch Bowl, but said the Article 4 directive was the only effective preventative measure.

York Camra spokesman Nick Love said that listing the pub as an asset of community value - the other option considered by cabinet to protect the Punch Bowl - would only help if Tesco were planning to buy the building, and could not stop the supermarket from leasing the pub at any time.

Martin Crosbie, from The Groves Residents’ Association, said the area was already well served with local supermarkets. “It’s not something we feel the area is crying out for,” he said.

Cllr Dafydd Williams said at the meeting: “There is will in the room to help the pub in whatever way we can.”