Tesco has pledged to continue consulting Dorset residents over plans to build a superstore in the market town of Sherborne despite fierce opposition.
A spokesman for the supermarket giant, which has so far held three public exhibition consultation events outlining proposals to turn the site of the Sherborne Hotel on the A30 into an out-of-town supermarket, told The Grocer a consultation end date had not been set and views were still being collated.
Last week local residents – including former Blue Peter presenter Valerie Singleton, who lives in the town – staged a placard-waving protest in support of the No Thanks Tesco campaign, which has attracted 10,000 signatures opposing the plans.
“Sherborne is a busy, vibrant and successful town and we don’t want the high street damaged” - Valerie Singleton
During the march from Cheap Street to Digby Hall, 20 shops in the town centre closed for one hour and many boarded up their windows and switched off lights to express their support.
“There were 709 people through the door of the Digby Hall in the first hour, and an overwhelming vote of 663 against and only 43 for,” Singleton said. “Sherborne is a busy, vibrant and successful town and we don’t want the high street damaged.”
A Tesco spokesman told The Grocer that many residents shop in Yeovil – five miles from Sherborne – and a Tesco store would offer them greater choice in the town.
He added: “We’re keen to hear as many views as we can [on initial] proposals. No application has been submitted.”
However, a campaign spokeswoman said the town was already “well served by two town-centre supermarkets, convenience stores, independent shops and local markets”, and warned that the store would result in a “downturn in town centre footfall”.