A campaign to stop Tesco opening a store in Sherborne has gained the support of high street guru Mary Portas.
The retail expert visited the Dorset town this weekend, and took to Twitter to voice her support for the 'No Thanks Tesco' campaign.
A spokesperson for the group said: "Mary Portas retweeted about our campaign to her 204,000 followers on Twitter and followed this up with a private visit to see us in Sherborne last Saturday.
"She has offered us her full support, which is amazing.
"We've also been approached by a top London art director who works for key brands and can help us make this campaign something to knock socks off all the others - just because he cares about Sherborne.
"We're working with some key agencies like the Campaign to Protect Rural England and others who are putting their weight behind the campaign."
The group's online petition had received nearly 500 signatures by the end of Tuesday December 18, and support is still growing.
Paper petitions are being distributed to local businesses and campaigners hope their cause will go from strength to strength.
"The core action group comprises of half a dozen or so of us" added a group spokesperson.
"We happen to have the skills between us to spread the word, we love the town and feel that it is in danger of becoming over-developed with irreversible consequences to our economy and community.
"We would like to make one very clear point though: This campaign is not about preaching to people about their shopping preferences - we all use supermarkets.
"The fact is any development at what is the gateway to Sherborne and Dorset needs very careful considerations - and a Tesco on that site is the least appropriate of all for many reasons."
Tesco have struck a deal to take over the premises of the Sherborne Hotel. The company will hold a public consultation ahead of submitting a planning application next year.
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