THOUSANDS of people have signed a petition and many have written to a council in support of bid to open a discount supermarket in an industrial estate.
Lidl wants to open up a store in Castle Trading Estate, in Southampton Road, Portchester and it has submitted a planning application to Fareham Borough Council.
The discount supermarket has drawn lots of support from residents with many saying that Lidl will bring in healthy competition and give them a choice for their grocery shopping.
A petition of more than 4,300 names has been submitted to the council as well as more than 60 individual letters of support.
Resident Ray Peckham, of Leith Avenue, said: ‘How on earth the council can say there is adequate retail supermarkets in Portchester is beyond me.
‘There are only Co-op stores. The council should listen to the residents who mostly shop out of area due to the lack of competition.’
Lisa Martin-Pope, of The Hillway, said: ‘People need food retail choice and competition to ensure prices that they can afford.’
Chairman of Portchester Traders’ Association Kevin Butcher said the traders were in support of the store as they felt it would attract more people to the area.
He said: ‘The Co-op is relatively expensive and many people are forced to go to the bigger supermarkets. It will encourage people to shop in Portchester once again.’
Jason Gratton, from Lidl, said: ‘We have been thrilled to have received such fantastic support from the local residents of Portchester.
‘We very much hope to bring a Lidl and its quality offerings to the community as soon as possible.
‘We warmly encourage any resident who wishes to do so to speak to their ward councillors and continue to register their support.’
If approved, the plans will see a 1,063m² Lidl open in the former Homewood Interiors unit and adjacent Portchester Pine unit, with 70 parking spaces.
Lidl is prosing to spend millions regenerating the site replacing the derelict buildings and the new store will create up to 40 new jobs.
The decision is expected to be held at a special planning committee meeting next month.