Tesco has averted a planning hitch over its latest Southampton store.

The retailer persuaded councillors to give it retrospective planning permission for alterations to the building - five weeks after it opened.

Dozens of letters of objection were received by the city council to the unauthorised changes to the firm's ninth Express store in the city.

It opened at the end of February on the site of the former Shell petrol station in Cobden Avenue, Bitterne Park. Full planning permission for the store was given in March 2006, but Tesco later made changes without asking the city council.

The council's planning panel begrudgingly approved the amendment works to the roof, new signage, drains and a rear door that were not approved by planners.

In return Tesco has agreed to a highway condition survey, resurfacing a pavement, upgrading a traffic island in St Catherine's Road and making a transport contribution.

Panel chairman Councillor June Bridle said: "All of us are fed up with Tesco believing they can do exactly what they like."

Objectors had wanted a survey to see whether additional traffic from shoppers to the store would endanger pedestrians and air quality. They also warned that increased competition would harm other businesses in the area.

Tesco this week denied accusations that it has too much of a stranglehold over the UK grocery market.

A Tesco spokesman said: "During the construction period it became evident that some minor amendments could be made to further enhance the development and we submitted a planning application to this effect. In no way do these minor modifications affect the principal use of retail."