ALMOST 1,900 people have signed a petition objecting to a supermarket giant’s plans to turn a former pub in Ore into a shop.
Tesco wants to make the Oddfellows Arms in Old London Road into a Tesco Express store.
It does not need planning permission to convert the disused pub into a shop but has submitted an application to Hastings Borough Council for a side extension and new shop frontage.
But traders and residents in the area fear local trade will be killed off, as there are already several convenience stores in Ore.
Local ward councillor Michael Wincott started a petition in November last year, which attracted 1,824 signatures in total, calling for Tesco to abandon its plans. He said: “The strength of feeling in Ore has been overwhelming, as more than 1,800 people signed a petition that was presented to senior representatives of Tesco. Many residents and I believe that the increase in delivery vehicles will cause further traffic congestion and increase the risk to pedestrians.”
Dave Hemsley, co-founder of Ore Valley Action Group, said: “Opening a Tesco in Ore will have a seriously detrimental effect on the smaller local independent shops within the village. Some have even said they would have to cut staff or close down if trade decreased should Tesco be allowed in Ore.
“We have witnessed several accidents and seen many near misses involving vehicles u-turning and overtaking when buses or lorries have been parked on the Oddfellows side of Old London Road.”
In December more than 100 residents attended a public meeting, set up by Cllr Wincott, in which they aired their concerns with Simon Petar, Tesco’s corporate affairs manager. Mr Petar said Tesco Express stores were popular and the new shop will provide around 20 jobs. He also said the firm’s Express branches helped rejuvenate shopping areas as they bring out more people to shop. The application is expected to be discussed at a planning meeting on February 26.