Judgment day for Tesco’s bid to move into village

Bar staff Matt Shaw and Megan McEnroe at Drift on Hayling Island

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A NEW Tesco store is set to be built in the heart of a village despite widespread opposition.

A decision on plans for a Tesco Express in London Road, Purbrook, is due tomorrow and councillors have been recommended by planning officers to give it the go-ahead.

But traders and residents fear it could ruin the character of the area, which boasts a host of independent shops and historic properties.

They also fear it could spell the end for Purbrook’s post office, which is located in the One Stop convenience store in London Road.

A council report into the plans admitted there is a risk of the shop closing if Tesco is built.

This is because the One Stop chain is also part of the Tesco group.

A total of 24 written objections have been received by the council, along with a petition signed by 87 people.

Julie Parham, who runs Cut ‘n’ Dry hairdressers in Purbrook, said: ‘None of us want it. It’s going to affect everybody.

‘People will just drive in and drive off – they are not going to cross the road.

‘It’s right in the middle of a conservation area.

‘They are going to have posters in the windows and it just won’t look right.’

The plans also include three flats above the Tesco store and 19 car parking spaces on the site, which was once a BP petrol station.

The council’s environmental health team has objected to the plans because they say it would be too noisy for people living in the flats.

Officials say residents should not have to put up with noise from deliveries late into the evening.

Waterlooville South Community Board and Purbrook and Widley Area Residents’ Association have also objected to the development.

However, planning officers say the store would enhance the area.

A report states: ‘The development would result in the removal of a vacant and unattractive site on the edge of St Johns Conservation Area.’

Chris Pickup, the agent for Tesco, said: ‘If the situation arises where the One Stop ceases to trade and the post office wishes to relocate, Tesco agrees to enter into discussions with all relevant parties at that time to investigate the potential relocation of the post office counter into the Tesco Express store.’