Bishop Waltham Sainsbury's protesters hand in petition

Proposed store Traders in the village fear they will lose customers when the supermarket opens

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Protesters against plans for a new Sainsbury's supermarket in a Hampshire village have handed a petition signed by more than 4,000 people to a council.

Resident say the 35,000 sq ft (3,251 sq m) Abbey Mill store in Bishops Waltham will hurt high street trade.

They handed in their petition to Winchester City Council on Friday.

Sainsbury's said it will help finance a £1.6m relocation of the village's surgery to the site and the store will create more than 300 jobs.

But Christine Blandford, who runs a bakery in the village, told BBC News: "My loyalties lie with my 25 staff all of whom, I consider, will be out of work if Sainsbury's is allowed to come."

Meanwhile, fishmonger Peter Atkinson told BBC News: "It is difficult to quantify but I think I would seriously have to consider my position [if the new Sainsbury's plan is approved]."

But a spokesman for Sainsbury's said: "Our proposal would address an identified lack of main food shopping choice in Bishops Waltham and the surrounding area.

"We firmly believe that increasing main food shopping choice locally would help to attract these shoppers back to Bishops Waltham."

Councillors are expected to discuss the plans in October.

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