BOSSES behind plans to transform a historic pub on the A127 have revealed it has run “at a loss for three years” after being significantly impacted by the Covid pandemic.

Under plans by EG Group Limited, the Dick Turpin would be demolished and replaced with a new petrol station and drive-through coffee shop.

However, the plans have been hit with fierce criticism as residents call for it to remain as a pub and councillors raise major concerns about the loss of the historic building.

In a fresh planning statement, bosses behind the plan have pointed to “changing consumer social habits”, discounted alcohol being sold in supermarkets, and the Covid pandemic as key reasons why the pub is no longer viable.

The almost 100-year-old pub, run by Greene King, has proved popular over the years and is the meeting place of south Essex’s biking community, but bosses believe it is no longer sustainable as a pub.

The updated planning statement states “it is only a matter of time” until the pub closes, but a new petrol station would create 40 new jobs and “bring a number of benefits”.

Part of an updated planning statement said: “The Dick Turpin has a chequered trading history and has suffered from multiple closures in the recent past, which is partly related to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The business has not been able to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels of trade and has been operating at a loss over the past three years. From 2019 to 2022, the turnover of the business decreased and food sales declined.”

The document also points to competition in the area, with 11 other pubs and restaurants operating nearby.

According to the document, Greene King has made the decision to “dispose” of the business.

It added: “A commercial decision has been taken by Greene King, who own the site, to dispose of it since it is not a viable operation. Greene King has not taken this decision lightly, and it does not dispose of sites unless they are no longer commercially viable.”

Basildon Council is yet to vote on the plans, however Wickford Town Council has submitted an objection calling for the building to be protected because of its “heritage value”.