TESCO is pushing ahead with controversial plans for an Express store in Sandbanks, set to open in July – but angry residents have said they may boycott it.

The supermarket giant revealed its intention to create a new store at the site of the Sandacres pub last year – prompting local opposition from hundreds of residents and traders, including petitions and a Facebook campaign.

Opponents argued that the store was inappropriate alongside the exclusive properties of ‘Millionaires Row’, as well as ‘not needed’ given the proximity of the Lilliput Tesco branch.

They also raised concerns about traffic, litter and noise.

But under permitted development rights regulations, Tesco is able to convert the pub into a shop without planning permission.

It only submitted four applications for minor changes to the building’s exterior, including new signage some demolition works, installation of air conditioning units, a new cash point, new shop frontage, cycle stands, new windows and 2m fencing in places. All have been granted.

A Tesco spokesman said: “We have worked closely with local residents on the look and feel of the store and are very pleased to have received these approvals for the building.”

Opposition from residents included a 425 signature petition raised by Karen Denham, owner of the nearby Sandbanks Stores.

It stated “Sandbanks is a holiday destination, not a shopping destination and as such the signatories object to any supermarket here and cannot see the need.”

It notes the dissatisfaction of residents of “multimillion pound properties around this site” who are “far from happy to be next to and/or looking out on to a Tesco Express.”

Karen told the Echo she felt both the feelings of local people had been “totally ignored.”

A spokesman for Tesco said: “We think it will be really handy for people who are looking to add something extra to their picnic and for those who need to top up their weekly shop.”

What the locals said

Charlotte Moors, 28, from Poole, said: “There’s one down the road so I don’t see why you need another one. It’s nice to have the little shops down there and you know they’re there.”

Katie Muir, 24, from Poole, said: “I’ve signed the petition to say it shouldn’t be there. I think there could be a different business there, a nice local business. It will be tourists that use it.”

Andy Coleman, 31, from Canford Cliffs, said: “I would like to see something independent there. I own a business in Ashley Cross and I wonder what local responsibility Tesco will have.”

Jan Cottington, 53, from Bournemouth, said: “I think there’s too many of these small Tesco stores. The bigger stores are enough and it’s putting others out of business.”