A YORK businessman has launched a petition against the opening of more supermarkets as Sainsbury’s plans to open its third branch in the city.

Graham Kennedy, owner of Hull Road service station, is taking a stand against an “oversaturisation” of superstores in York, having counted 16 in the city already.

He says the long-term future of many independent family businesses would suffer if more large stores operated in the city.

Although Sainsbury’s says its proposals do not include a petrol filling station as part of its plans for a new store at the current B&Q site in Hull Road, Mr Kennedy believes there is no requirement for another supermarket and said he feared for the future of his business of 25 years, and for his 36 staff.

Mr Kennedy’s petition, to be presented to City of York Council, asks the authority not to approve any further supermarkets in York without a public debate. It has received backing from York Outer MP Julian Sturdy and more than 700 signatures within ten days of its launch.

Mr Kennedy said: “Short-term job creation by supermarkets for mainly part-time vacancies is a fallacy, as they result in closures of smaller family business retailers who are unable to compete in a retailing environment controlled by four major supermarkets.”

He also fears that Hull Road would become “gridlocked”.

Sainsbury’s, which says up to 400 jobs will be created, was today launching a public exhibition into its plans at St Thomas’s Church, in Osbaldwick Lane, from 11am until 7pm and tomorrow from 11am to 4pm.

A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “Our plans include a 60,000 sq ft food store with a customer café, cash machine facilities, around 490 car parking spaces and two electric vehicle charging bays. The scheme we are consulting on does not include proposals for a petrol filling station.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Sainsbury’s to bring a new food store to York and subject to securing planning permission, we look forward to taking possession of the site on Hull Road and bringing greater choice to the local community.”

Brian Madderson, chairman of the petrol retailers association RMI, added his support to Mr Kennedy’s plight, saying: “A new supermarket forecourt will suck up the entire volume of at least six independent forecourts in that local area with a negative impact on jobs, local spend, and local facilities.”