HUNDREDS of people turned out to back plans for a new discount supermarket.
Residents in Portchester have been campaigning for Lidl to open a new store in the former Homewood Interiors unit on Castle Trading Estate, Portchester.
The supermarket has put in a planning application to Fareham Borough Council which has attracted scores of support letters.
Yesterday residents went to the site with ward councillor Geoff Fazackarley to show their support.
Cllr Fazackarley said: ‘We have to listen to the people. We want the best for Portchester.
‘The residents want it. They are struggling in this economic environment to make ends meet.
‘I am a bus driver and I know how hard it can be to feed a family of four.
‘We have been working hard to get this development through.
‘It should bring more people to the area. There are thousands of residents who want it to be here and we have to listen to the majority.’
Among the scores of residents that turned up to yesterday’s demonstration were husband and wife Phil and Pat Rook, of Albion Close.
Mr Rook, 61, said: ‘Everybody is in favour. It will be convenient.
‘It is a nonsense that it has had to go this far to get through what is a sensible plan.’
Also in support was Ian Lawrance, of Castle Street.
The 61-year-old said: ‘It will bring competition into Portchester and will compete with the Co-op.
‘Lidl fulfils an additional need. It will bring in different products, some of the European products, for example. It will help to grow Portchester.’
The application for the 1,502sq.m food store is expected to be made at a special planning meeting in March.
Councillors will have to decide whether the store would have an impact on trade in the nearby Portchester precinct.
Some have argued the new store would lead to a decrease in trade whereas others say it will attract people to the area.
Councillors will also have to take into account whether or not they will permit the retail store to open in what it technically classed as an industrial estate.
Residents have until January 30 to send in their comments to Fareham Borough Council, quoting reference P/14/1187/FP.