A ROSS-on-Wye resident spoke passionately against a proposal for a new Lidl store in the town.

The mainstream discount operator, Lidl, wants to build a supermarket at Wolf Business Park off Gloucester Road and will soon apply for planning permission.

The chain is also proposing submitting an outline planning application for the adjoining employment area to the south for business units, which will be retained by the Wolf family.

Thomas Small, who lives in Ryefield Road, spoke at the Ross-on-Wye Town Council meeting on Monday night.

He said: "The problem I have with this is when going to various different places when something like this opens, when another supermarket comes in, it takes shoppers out of town.

"At the moment we have three supermarkets in Ross which is a reasonable enough number for the amount of people we have here.

"My fear would be as people come in they go straight to Lidl and wouldn't come to the supermarkets in the centre of town. These supermarkets in town all have parking and allows them to go around the rest of Ross."

He believed the new store would be detrimental to town centre shops and could lead to further closures.

Mr Small added: "I have seen it happen with other stores in other areas and how town centres have fallen away. It is a terrible thing and I don't want it to happen to Ross. It is a place I intend to live for the rest of my life. It is an emotional subject for me."

Councillors thanked Mr Small for attending the meeting. Councillor Caroline Utting, who is chair of the town's planning committee, informed Mr Small that the town council has no decision making power and only an advisory role to Herefordshire Council's planning department and committee.

The new supermarket would have 127 car parking spaces. Vehicle access would be from Alton Road and it would be open 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm or 11am to 5pm on a Sunday

Lidl said the benefits of the scheme include 40 news jobs, landscaping and a purpose-built store.

Lidl is holding a public consultation at The Chase Hotel on Thursday between 1pm and 7pm. To find out more go to rossonwye.lidl.co.uk. There is also a petition on the website for those who support the proposal.