LIDL’S latest application to build a £7 million supermarket in a Hampshire village has been granted after attracting massive support.

Civic chiefs have approved the discount’s chain’s second attempt to gain permission for a 2,194 square metre store on part of a public car park at St John’s Street, Hythe.

Four months ago Lidl’s previous application was rejected by one vote after district councillors criticised the design of the proposed development.

Lidl later submitted a revised scheme which aimed to ensure the supermarket blended in with St John’s Church and other historic buildings in the centre of the village.

The new design was approved by 16 votes to one yesterday at a meeting of the council’s planning and development control committee.

Members said Lidl had replaced a “square box” with something that was “much more fitting”.

Their decision to approve the scheme, which is expected to create 40 jobs, was greeted with a round of applause from Lidl supporters sitting in the public gallery.

During the debate it emerged that the council had received 48 letters of objection but 308 from people who supported the proposal.

Council officers said Lidl had forwarded a 3,969-name petition - and 43 letters - from people who wanted the application to succeed.

Cllr Fran Carpenter said: “You are plonking a big building in the middle of a conservation area. It’s over development - and it will change the character of Hythe.”

But planning officer David Groom replied: “We have achieved the best we can.”

Cllr Alison Hoare added: “We are very lucky that Lidl have come back with another application.”

During the public participation period at the start of the meeting objectors complained that the scheme would result in three of the nine Blue Badge bays in the existing car park being axed.

They also warned that competition from the new Lidl store could result in smaller shops in the village going out of business.

But representatives from Lidl said the scheme would “stem the flow of money” out of Hythe by reducing the number of people driving to other shopping centres.