A row is brewing over plans to open a Tesco store in Grove Road.
The supermarket giant wants to open a shop in the former Eastbourne Borough Council offices at 68 Grove Road opposite the Town Hall.
Plans have been submitted to the council to change the use of the ground floor of the 1970s built building from offices to retail and install a new shopfront.
But residents living in the area are against the proposals as are local traders who say it will ruin Little Chelsea’s ethos of supporting independent traders.
One resident said, “The whole ethos behind the area known as Little Chelsea – Grove Road and South Street – is that the area supports independent traders and that’s what makes it different from the main shopping areas.
“Allowing a multi-national like Tesco to locate a store in this area goes against the spirit of Little Chelsea and would threaten a number of traders within the vicinity.”
A spokesperson for Tesco said, “Given the store’s size, it will perform a local neighbourhood function, selling a basic range of food and grocery lines including bread, milk, fresh meat, fruit and vegetables, ready meals, snacks, and some household products.
“In addition the store would stock a limited range of wine, beer and some spirits, tobacco, newspapers, magazines and a selection of fresh cut flowers.
“The proposal is clearly orientated toward serving a local neighbourhood convenience shopping market.
“This store proposal is therefore well suited to this location and will provide the opportunity for top up shopping between main/bulk food shopping trips offering convenience, quality and reliability of stock and product without the need to travel outside the locality.
“The proposal will bring this vacant and underused site back into use whilst providing an active frontage at the site located at Grove Road.”
The building has a long and chequered history. In the past it has been a cafe, a stamp dealer’s shop and a car showroom and a petrol station and garage. A decision will be made in 2013.