BUSINESSES in Lee-on-the-Solent fear for the future of the town if a new Tesco store is built there.
The supermarket giant has put in an application to Gosport Borough Council for a Tesco Express store on the corner of Pier Street and Marine Parade East.
Tesco says it will create between 20 and 30 jobs, but members of Lee Business Association are concerned that it will hit trade.
Peter Patterson, who owns a greengrocers in the High Street, said: ‘Visitors come to Lee for a weekend and love it because we have so many independent shops.
‘They come here because it’s unique and it will lose its uniqueness.
‘The difference between us and supermarkets is that people aren’t numbers – they are known by their names.
‘Yes we would be quite concerned about our business but we aren’t trying to compete with the supermarkets, we try to aim for the middle of the road with our prices. There are people who will support us because we are independent. We are passionate about where we are.
‘We have got hundreds of people against it who live in the community.’
The News reported last month that traders were worried about the rumour of Tesco opening, but the supermarket giant was remaining tight-lipped over its plans.
It comes as Tesco builds a store in Rowner and another next to the Quay Street roundabout in Fareham.
Juliette Bishop, spokeswoman for Tesco, said: ‘Tesco can confirm that we have taken on the lease for a retail unit on Pier Road in Lee-on-Solent. In our experience, we have found Tesco Express encourages more people to shop locally without having to drive to large out-of-town supermarkets as often, which can strengthen existing local centres and generate investment.
‘We feel that a Tesco Express will be a positive addition to Lee-on-Solent and we look forward to opening and serving our customers.’
Members of Lee Business Association will take part in a silent protest on the seafront on Sunday, June 26 at 2pm.
A date has not yet been set for the application to go to the planning committee.