PLANS by Tesco to open a supermarket in Sherborne will be revealed to the public next month.
The retail giant signed an agreement with Torbeg Ltd, freeholders of the Sherborne Hotel, on the A30, last year.
Now Melanie Chiswell, corporate affairs manager for Tesco, said a public consultation will take place in February on a date to be confirmed, ahead of a potential planning application in the spring.
She said the store would create 200 jobs, with priority interviews guaranteed for any hotel staff interested in working for Tesco.
The site is opposite land at Barton Farm which received planning permission for more than 200 new homes in September. The news sparked fierce opposition from Sherborne residents and independent business owners.
Homeowner Colin Evis, of Bradford Road, said a large supermarket on that site could cause congestion.
He said: “Traffic-wise it is going to cause a problem, and it could even be dangerous. It’s too near to the traffic lights and the main road.”
In less than a month 4,000 people have signed online and paper petitions by campaign group No Thanks Tesco.
The campaign has been backed by retail guru Mary Portas and members of both Sherborne and Yeovil Chamber of Trade and Commerce have rallied in support.
Oliver Letwin, MP for West Dorset, has been contacted by residents appealing for his help in opposing the plans.
He said: “The planning system cannot, in general, be used to prevent change of use from one commercial use to another, though we obviously shouldn’t pre-judge that issue.
“What I am completely clear about is that any building at this important gateway to Sherborne should be an appropriate adornment to the town, not an eyesore.”