PLANS to transform a Hampshire convenience store have been rejected amid fears that the scheme could result in animals invading the shop.

Supermarket bosses have been refused permission to alter the front of a Tesco Express store that was entered by a donkey earlier this year.

The application included automatic sliding doors at the shop in Brockenhurst, one of the New Forest villages where ponies and donkeys roam the streets.

Members of the National Park Authority (NPA) were also asked to allow a recess beside the existing doors to be enclosed to create extra retail space.

But Maureen Holding, who is also a district councillor for Brockenhurst, objected to the proposals.

She said: “We had a donkey in this store not very long ago – and a lot of elderly people shelter in the doorway when it rains.”

Members also heard from Russell Horne, who is chairman of Brockenhurst Parish Council.

He said: “An automatic sliding door right on the edge of the pavement will open every time a person or animal walks by.

“This will leave an opening for ponies to enter the shop, which could be very unhygienic in a food store.”

NPA members criticised the design of the proposed alterations.

Penny Jackman said: “This won’t do anything to enhance the conservation area and will also narrow the pavement.

“At the moment people can pass each other by going into the recess, but that won’t be possible if this goes ahead.”

Members went against the advice of NPA officers and rejected the scheme, saying it was out of keeping.

The incident involving the donkey is said to have been caused by someone luring the animal into the shop by tempting it with carrots.

Speaking at the time, Tristan Russell, team leader at the Tesco Express store, said: “It’s not the first time that it has happened.

“They wander around the High Street so it’s not particularly unusual.

“It’s a bit of a nuisance to be honest.”

A Tesco spokesman was unavailable to comment on the NPA’s decision.