WORRIED Bilton traders say their livelihoods could be ruined with the announcement that Tesco is opening a store in the village.
The supermarket chain has taken over the lease of the former Tool and Plant Hire shop in Main Street, Bilton, where it plans to open a Tesco Express store within a matter of weeks.
Traders in the village, many of whom have worked in Bilton for many years, are worried that the new supermarket could take away a lot of their business.
Hina Patel, who owns and has run the Hitesh shop for the last 31 years, said: “It will kill off the village.
“I hope people will back us and will keep coming to us but Tesco is Tesco. It will be very damaging to business.”
Mrs Patel said that none of the traders were told about the plans for the Tesco store.
She said: “They have kept it very hush hush. There is nothing that anyone can do. It’s very frustrating.”
John Cleaver, who owns the village butchers, is also concerned after losing £2,000 a week in trade when Asda opened in the town centre recently.
Mr Cleaver said: “They are taking over everywhere. They seem to be allowed to do what they want.”
Mike Rushall, who runs Bilton Post Office, added: “I’m not very happy about it. It’s a bit upsetting that we knew nothing about it.
“This is something that is just not needed and it’s bound to affect a number of long standing businesses in Bilton.”
Residents are backing the plight of traders in the village with many saying they will continue to support the independent shops.
Alan Kirby, who lives in Bawnmore Road, said: “The feeling in Bilton is that we don’t need another supermarket.
“Myself and lots of other residents are very unhappy. This will jeopardise a lot of livelihoods in the village who have all been there for a great number of years.”
Fears have also been raised that the opening of the new Tesco Express store will cause more parking and traffic problems.
Cllr David Wright (Con, Bilton) said: “It’s not the right place for a Tesco. The little car park at the rear of that site is full all day every day.
“There will be more traffic and more people trying to park. There is already a big parking problem in the village.”
A spokesman for Tesco said it is awaiting planning permission from Rugby Borough Council to allow it to put up signs and install electrical equipment. It is thought the planning committee will discuss the plans later this month.
Tesco said if it was given permission it would try and open the store as soon as possible.