CAMPAIGNERS have staged a demonstration against plans for a new Sainsbury's store in York's Hull Road during a site visit by councillors.

City of York Council's planning committee will tomorrow consider the proposals for the site of the existing B & Q store, with officers recommending members to grant conditional approval.

But local businessman Graham Kennedy, who has led the campaign of opposition against the scheme, claimed yesterday that a majority of councillors believed York had too many supermarkets, and insisted tomorrow's decision was not a fait accompli for Sainsbury's.

"A refusal would send out a message nationwide that York is a place that welcomes independent traders and family business," he said, speaking after submitting a document to councillors outlining why opponents believed the proposals should be turned down.

The document claims the application has faced 'unprecedented' opposition from residents, making it 'one of the most unpopular planning applications in living memory.'

It states: "The people of York have spoken loud and clear: 741 people who submitted an individual planning objection, as well as the 1800 who signed an earlier petition are all saying they DO NOT want another supermarket in this area."

The document claims the supermarket would create traffic chaos, with even more queues and 'total gridlock' on Hull Road, and would undermine local and city centre retailers, and would create even more car journeys because it would not be fully accessible by public transport.

"Our campaign is supported by a coalition of local traders and residents who feel that this is one development too far, and we urge you to vote against the new Sainsbury’s," it adds.

Johnny Hayes, who is chairman of the Bishy Road Traders organisation in Bishopthorpe Road, said he also planned to speak out at the meeting against the plans, on behalf of small traders in the Hull Road area who he believed would be badly affected by the new store. "I think enough is enough," he added.

Sainsbury's has said that the store would create around 400 jobs and provide useful shopping for a large part of York, while B&Q has said it would look for a new site nearby.

The supermarket giant has also said that while it had looked at expanding its existing store in Foss Bank, this had been impossible due to Go Outdoors having moved in next door.