A store vacated by Brighton-based retailer Taj has been taken over by campaigners protesting against a Sainsbury’s Local opening on the site.

Taj closed the store, on St James’s Street, Brighton, in December to focus on its larger store in the city. Sainsbury’s has since revealed plans to open a convenience store on the site. It already has five Locals in Brighton & Hove, plus three supermarkets, and has planning in for an additional convenience store on a disused car dealership site in the city.

As The Grocer went to press, the protesters had been ordered to leave the site by the courts. They have renamed the building ‘SaboTaj’ and claim they want to turn it into a community centre.

“As our city and lives become increasingly commercialised, the last thing we need is another clone supermarket muscling in on what was once a unique and independent local street,” the protesters said in a statement.

“Another supermarket owned by a big corporation will put even more pressure on the local independent businesses in these already harsh economic times.”

A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman said: “Our store could integrate well with other outlets in this vibrant high street and make a valuable contribution to the vitality of the town centre. At the same time it could deliver many benefits to the local community such as convenience, choice and 25 new jobs.”