BUSINESSES have stepped up their bid to stop a Tesco superstore being built at Fratton Park.
More than 2,000 people have now signed two petitions against the development – double the amount of support received in August.
As previously reported, Andrew Manning and his wife Sue, who run Portsmouth Fruit & Flower Ltd and Portsmouth Hardware and Pets Supplies, in Eastney Road, Portsmouth, sent out the documents because they think the development will kill local shops and create major traffic problems.
Stephen Dean, owner of Bransbury Park Butchers, said: ‘The feeling is still the same. The 2,000 people who have signed these petitions are local people. They don’t want this to happen. They don’t want it because of the effect it would have on the traffic and the local shops.
‘People are still signing copies of the petition which are out and about.’
The plans are being put together by property developer Stuart Robinson – who owns the land around Pompey’s stadium – with his development company Point Estates and Tesco.
A planning application hasn’t been submitted to the council yet because final details are being made.
Mr Manning said: ‘The developers should sit up and listen to what people have to say.
‘I have got letters as well that people have given to me about this. It’s great that everyone has come together.’
Mr Robinson said there would always be a need for local shops – and said the majority of people who attended a public exhibition about the plan were for it.
‘We had 1,000 people at the public exhibition and we had an amazing response from that,’ he said.
Ninety-five per cent were in favour of the development so I would say that is pretty good.
‘Tesco has opened stores around different parts of the country.
‘There is always going to be a place for local stores. I still go to my butcher and local veg guy. In terms of what Tesco offers – some people do and some don’t like it.
‘The application has to be finalised but it will be done shortly.’
Deputy Conservative group leader Cllr Luke Stubbs said shoppers would still go to small stores to ‘top up’ their big food shop.
‘I don’t know whether this scheme will get planning consent, but if it does I don’t think it will directly cause many further small shop closures,’ he said.