SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has submitted its plans to build a controversial new store in Hampshire.

Tesco says the 975-page application for a site in Romsey , which will create 200 new jobs, includes the results of an independent telephone survey into the shopping habits of 750 households in Romsey and its wider catchment area. The supermarket chain says that around 57 per cent of households currently do their main food shopping outside Romsey.

As a result it claims more than £50m each year is going out of the town.

Tesco corporate affairs manager Simon Petar said: “Our proposed store will help revitalise Romsey by encouraging shoppers to stay in the town.

“We will also create 200 new jobs for local people.”

The firm also claims a store on the six-acre Fairground Field site, with a 400-space car park, will cut down the “shopping miles” of Romsey shoppers, who they claim clock up 1.5 million miles per year going out of town.

But Romey business chiefs dispute Tesco’s figures.

Joint president of Romsey Chamber of Commerce David Willox said: “Building a new store will not increase the amount of money spent by people who choose to shop there.

“They already feed and clothe themselves at other shops so what will actually happen is that less money will be spent at those shops they currently use, mainly Asda at Chandler’s Ford , Sainsbury at Lordshill and Waitrose in Romsey, as well as other smaller shops in the immediate area.

“In order to maintain their profitability those shops will have to reduce their staffing levels and the overall number of jobs in the area will not increase.”

The application follows a series of meetings with Test Valley Borough Council officers and briefings for political representatives and local organisations.

Public exhibitions of the plans, held in the Town Hall and Crosfield Hall at the end of July, were attended by around 900 residents.

Last weekend, members of the Say No To Broadlands Tesco campaign protested outside Romsey Show, near the proposed Tesco site.

The borough council says a few details have to be finalised with the applicants before the plans will be available to view.

Building work on the store would take about a year.