RUMOURS that a Tesco Express is to open in North Bersted alarmed residents and councillors at a public meeting.
One of those at the meeting on February 7, Janet Bradfield, said she had been told the convenience store was set to replace the former Rising Sun pub.
“I’ve spoken to the brewery and they told me a change of use was going through and the deal would be completed in June,” she said.
She said the prospect of the grocery giant arriving at the Chichester Road site raised fears about the survival of the nearby popular small shops.
More than 12 businesses are located on and around the Royal Parade about half a mile further south along the road.
The Rising Sun has been empty since last year. The building, with its large car park, stands behind a safety fence amid housing.
Bersted Parish Council chairman Brian Knight said: “This council has not seen anything about what is going to happen to the Rising Sun.
“Everything is rumour and speculation at the moment but we will fight like hell as a parish council to stop Tesco coming in there.
“We support the local shops that are trying to continue to earn a living. I’ve not asked the parish councillors for their opinion on this but I am sure they would all support me.
“We like the Royal Parade as it stands. We will put in our neighbourhood plan we like our local shops and want to keep them.”
County, district and parish councillor Simon McDougall said: “A change of use for Rising Sun, could be for anything - housing, Tesco or anything else.”
He believed a covenant meant only a pub could be on the land.