A NEW Tesco Express store will be coming to Newport despite more than 500 people signing a petition against the plans.

The Planning Inspectorate allowed an appeal made by Tesco to convert the former Black Horse Inn pub on Somerton Road into an Express store, despite Newport Council originally refusing the planning permission and a local shopkeeper urging locals to object to the appeal.

A report from Planning Inspectorate Anthony Thickett states that under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 the change of use froma public house to a retail shop is a permitted development and does not need planning permission.

The appeal application relates to the proposed physical alterations to the building only, which were to install a new shop front and minor external alterations.

The Argus recently reported how local shopkeeper Jatinderpal Bajwa, who has run Somerton Superstores opposite the site for the past two-and-a-half years, was urging residents and businesses in Somerton to write to the Planning Inspectorate objecting to the appeal. He also led the petition against the plans.

Mr Bajwa said, following the decision, he now fears his business will go under as he does not think he will be able to compete with the supermarket chain’s prices. He said: “I’m gutted. My business will be zero then I’ll be finished.

“It’s going to be a big problem for me. I will have to leave the shop.” This is Tesco’s second attempt to open a shop on the site, after it previously lost a bid to demolish the pub and build a shop in its place.