£500,000 to convert troubled Leeds pub to shop

Abid Hussain outside his superstore Abu Bakar in Burley,Leeds.
Abid Hussain outside his superstore Abu Bakar in Burley,Leeds.
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A LEEDS businessman is pumping £500,000 into turning a formerly notorious pub in south Leeds into an Asian supermarket.

The New Inn in Dewsbury Road, Beeston - once notorious for vandalism and violence - is to become an Abu Bakar superstore, the third in the city, after entrepreneur Abid Hussain was drawn to its “beautiful” architecture.

The pub closed in 2009 after a petition by local residents, and after police gained a court order.

It re-opened briefly but closed permanently soon after.

The family-run Abu Bakar chain - which started as a corner shop in Hyde park - is headed up by Mr Hussain.

He and business partner Arshad Hanif are hoping to create 15 full-time jobs.

Mr Hussain said it was the building and its location, and not its troubled past, that had attracted his interest.

“I was drawn to the architecture of the building,” Mr Hussain said.

“It’s a beautiful old listed building and it immediately catches your eye.

“It’s at the heart of the community, a multicultural community, and a really metropolitan area.

“We wanted to invest money into the area and help regenerate Beeston, because that part of it is run-down. I know some funding has been allocated to regenerate the area and we want to contribute to that.”

At the height of its troubles, the pub was among the city’s 10 hotspots for police visits and a court was presented with a dossier of trouble including serious assaults and stabbings close to the premises.

Locals had told police they felt “intimidated” and were “living in fear and in despair”.

Under conditions for Grade II listed buildings, the new owners will have to retain the pub’s unique frontage and some of its features.

The Abu Bakar chain, which has stores in Hyde Park and Roundhay Road, started life more than 30 years ago as a corner shop run by Mr Hussain’s father Mohammed Aslam.

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