PLANS for a controversial new multimillion pound supermarket bringing 200 jobs to a historic Hampshire town have gone on show.
Nearly 1,000 residents attended a public exhibition of the new store Tesco wants to build on the Broadlands Estate.
While some residents condemned the plans as a “death knell” for Romsey ’s shopping centre, others praised the project. Tesco said it will create 200 jobs.
Tesco wants to build on a six-acre site known as Fairground Field on the estate owned by Lord Brabourne, the late Lord Mountbatten’s grandson.
Its plans include a 400-space car park in front of the store with three hours of free parking, which will also be open to non-customers.
There will be trees planted to screen the site from Broadlands House.Outside the exhibition, campaigners collected 137 signatures for a petition against the store in three hours.
One of them, Vincent Boote, vowed: “We’re not going to let this happen because if this happens it will destroy the small shopkeepers in Romsey, it will create traffic congestion and it’s not needed.”
Opinions ranged from those in favour of the store, who thought it would bring cheaper goods and competition, to those strongly opposed who argued that it would cause congestion and damage the character and trade of the town.
Simon Petar, regional corporate affairs manager for Tesco, said that research showed 50 per cent of shoppers go out of Romsey for their food shop and the supermarket would increase footfall to the town, helping independent retailers.
He said Tesco were reassured that the road was capable of coping with the predicted traffic.
He added the store was a bespoke design to be sympathetic with the surroundings.
Tesco aims to submit a planning application to Test Valley Borough Council in September.