02:41AM, Thursday 03 July 2014
A coffin containing a pint-holding mannequin was laid in Maidenhead Town Hall last night as part of a funeral held for The Golden Harp pub.
More than 20 people donned black clothing and attended the send-off which bid goodbye to the popular former drinking-spot in Furze Platt Road, which opened last month as a Tesco Express.
It was organised by members of Furze Platt Action Group (FPAG), who campaigned for more than 18 months in a bid to persuade Tesco to give up its lease.
The company took over the building in 2012.
The funeral, which had a New Orleans theme, started in The Bear in High Street before the FPAG did a circuit around the town hall whilst playing a rendition of Chopin’s Funeral March on trumpet and saxophone.
The group then left the coffin in the town hall foyer.
FPAG chairman Mark Newcombe said: "We got the message across."
"We were just poking fun at the councillors for being so ineffective, but it wasn't really their fault.
"It was just a last hurrah for people to come and have a bit of fun."
The groups efforts managed to prevent vehicle access to the shop from Furze Platt Road and lessen the impact of the store on the surrounding conservation area.
The FPAG has switched its focused and started an e-petition in an attempt to incite a change-of law to prevent the same thing happening to other pubs in England.This includes by ensuring full planning permission and community consultation is obtained before pub buildings are converted to shops.
Permitted development laws meant that Tesco's 20 year lease on the Golden Harp building was secured before residents were made aware.
The FPAG has already received backing from nationwide advocacy group Campaign For Real Ale (CAMRA), Tescopoly and the All-party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group chaired by MP Greg Mulholland.
Visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/66572 to view the petition.
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