A PETITION with almost 2,000 signatures is to be presented to York councillors asking for stricter controls around supermarket development.

The campaign was launched by York businessman Graham Kennedy, owner of Hull Road Service Station, in response to Sainsbury's plans to open its third large supermarket in the city.

Mr Kennedy says York is already home to 15 large supermarkets and more than 20 mini supermarkets, which he believes is more per head of population than any other town or city in the UK.

His petition calls for the council "not to approve any further planning permissions for supermarkets in York without a public debate" stating: "We believe that York has now too many large supermarkets and any further expansion will threaten the very existence and sustainability of independent local retailers.”

The petition, which has more than 1,700 signatures is being presented at tomorrow's City of York Council Full Council meeting.

Mr Kennedy, said: "I think it's very significant the amount of people who have signed it. It shows a lot of people think the same as me that we have got enough supermarkets in York already.

"It brings to a head the question how many supermarkets does a city really need."

Mr Kennedy says he fears for the future of his business of 25 years, and for his 36 staff should Sainsbury's get planning permission for a store on the B&Q site in Hull Road.

The petition is being supported by Coun Fiona Fitzpatrick and Coun Mark Warters.

Coun Fitzpatrick said: "I very much support Mr Kennedy's argument as per head of population York seems to have so many supermarkets.

"I'm hoping this petition will help create a debate over what York wants, and what York needs to have in the future."

Sainsbury's held a public consultation in January into its Hull Road plans which the company says will create 400 jobs by creating a new 60,000st ft food store and cafe.