Tesco has scaled back plans to redevelop Brian Ford's Discount Store, the independent retailer it secretly bought five years ago.

It has reduced the size of the store it intends to build by 8,000 sq ft, dropped plans for a petrol station and reduced parking spaces by 200, in a new planning application submitted this month.

The plans are of a smaller scale than those submitted a year ago when Tesco applied for permission to build an 88,000 sq ft store with 600 parking spaces on the Brian Ford's site in Barnstaple. "The planning process has taken much longer than we would have hoped - we hope to progress these plans as soon as possible," said a Tesco spokeswoman.

The previous planning application for the larger store was still valid and Tesco still had the option of using it, she added.

Tesco bought Brian Ford's in 2003, but kept the deal secret until last year. It was only when it made the planning application that Tesco's involvement with the store became clear. The secrecy provoked fury in the town, as many customers had supported Brian Ford's rather than the local Tesco because they believed it to be independent.

The OFT investigated the purchase but found no reason to refer it to the Competition Commission.