The multiples are often on the receiving end of protests by residents fighting to stop the opening of a supermarket, but now Budgens has found itself the unlikely target in a leafy Surrey village.

An application to convert a former car showroom in Walton-on-the-Hill into a Budgens has been met with protests from residents and a c-store retailer who claimed the proposed independently run shop could threaten the character of the village and the future of his store.

Walton News - which is a few doors up the road from the proposed Budgens store - is run by Chirag Patel, who has submitted a petition to Reigate and Banstead Borough Council opposing the change-of-use application that would give permission for the 528 sq m building to be turned into a shop with 10 car parking spaces.

“Some 350 people have signed the petition,” he said. “They’re concerned for me and the village, which is really small. People don’t want it to happen because a school is next door, the pavements are narrow, there could be problems with traffic and people don’t want a late licence.”

Patel, who bought his business last March, said he had invested heavily in the “run-down” shop with new grocery lines and a Collect+ scheme that he claimed had helped attract more shoppers to the village.

Budgens said its proposed Walton-on-the-Hill store would fill a consumer need for a local shop providing fresh food and meal solutions. “The current newsagent does not have the space to offer this,” said Budgens MD Donal Horgan.