In September 2012 Tesco announced that it wanted to open an Express store in a former pub, the Royal Oak in West Hill. Local traders vowed to fight the proposals and a Portishead Action Group was set up.
Tesco confirmed it had signed a lease on the pub with owners Enterprise Inns. Because the pub is classed as a retail business, no change of use planning permission is needed. However five separate planning applications for minor works to the building, including installing a cash point, signage and plant including air conditioning and condensing units, have been submitted to North Somerset Council (NSC). Campaigners opposed the application for an alcohol license and asked NSC to bring forward an Article 4 Direction, to halt permitted development.
Sainsbury's - In February 2012 Sainsbury's had its planning consent for a £15 million new store in Portishead quashed by a High Court judge. The Co-operative applied for a judicial review after North Somerset Council granted Sainsbury's planning consent last year to build a new 30,000 sq ft store at Serbert Way claiming the decision was unlawful and based on incorrect information contained in an independent retail assessment about the impact a new store would have on the town. In response Sainsbury's submitted a second, slightly revised planning application to planners in May 2011. In March 2012 Sainsbury's had its second planning application for a 30,000 sq ft store approved by North Somerset Council's north area planning committee.