A COUNCIL has received a record number of responses over plans to build a supermarket on the outskirts of a town.

Hambleton District Council has received more than 1,230 comments from the public over plans to build a food store and petrol station off the A172 at Stokesley. In total, 1,179 of those comments were objections.

It is believed to be almost twice the previous record number of comments ever received by the planning department in response to a planning application.

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A spokeswoman for Hambleton District Council said: “It’s a bit of a record; we think the largest previous number was about 600.”

Most objectors fear the supermarket could have a devastating impact on the town centre's independent retailers.

One objection from a resident lodged with the council stated: “It’s a major threat to the ‘vitality and viability’ of Stokesley as a healthy market town. It will cause business failure, unemployment and the loss of its ‘special retail character’ made up of a mixture of small independent shops.”

Campaigners under the Save Our Stokesley (SOS) banner carried out a survey of businesses and market traders in the town centre.

It revealed the vast majority feared the knock-on effect for trade in the High Street and that many felt if competition from a supermarket forced food retailers to close, empty shop units would impact on all town centre traders.

Save Our Stokesley has also submitted a petition to Hambleton District Council against the plans, containing just short of 3,700 signatures.

The development at Mill Riggs Farm would also include a car wash, car parking and alterations to the highways, including a roundabout on the A172 and access road and footpaths.

Developer Terrace Hill has said the store will ensure greater retention of spending in the area as shoppers would stay within Stokesley to do their weekly shop.

They said the store would create more than 140 full and part-time jobs and additional jobs during construction.

The application is expected to be considered by Hambleton District Council’s planning meeting in June. If the application is approved the supermarket is expected to be operated by one of the big five retailers and would be open by Easter 2015.