FURIOUS pub campaigners have hit out at the company behind moves to turn a former York pub into a supermarket.

City licensees and representatives of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) have accused Marstons, the owners of what used to be The Corner House, in Burton Stone Lane, of putting the building up for sale on top of agreeing a 20-year lease with Tesco.

The former pub, which closed last month after 77 years, is to become a Tesco store, but property consultants James A Baker has listed it as for sale, sparking outrage from those fighting to secure a fair deal for the city's watering holes.

Nick Love, of York CAMRA, said: "Marston's exploitation of The Corner House is beyond belief. "

He said Marston's was "not content with the revenue from the sale of the building" but also wanted to "double their income" by selling the 20-year Tesco lease.

"They don't care for the community, just their shareholders."

The Press' Be Vocal For Your Local campaign was set up to give residents a say on whether or not they want pubs to close by calling for all buildings to be subject to planning permission.

Although The Corner House has closed without locals being given the chance to speak out, the appeal aims to give others a democratic say.

Paul Crossman, licensee of York pubs The Swan, The Slip Inn, The Volunteer Arms and The Woolpack, added: "Having come across the particulars it would appear that, having secured a lease deal with Tesco the historic, traditional, proud brewers who own this building have managed to secure a huge increase in its freehold value and are now seeking to flog it off asap for £725,000.

"I would guess this must represent an increase of at least £400,000 from its previous incarnation as a pub.

"The deal with Tesco occurred completely under the radar, due to the fact that our insane national planning laws mean that such a change of use does not require a planning application, and the story only appeared on the public radar once it was already a fait accompli.

"Not only have Marstons made the most of our planning loopholes to deprive a community of its pub, they have done the deal in such a way as to absolutely maximise the short term gain to themselves, while heading for the exit as fast as possible."

Martson's did not respond when contacted by The Press.