A CONTROVERSIAL new convenience store in a former chapel will open its doors in ten days.

Plans to convert the Groves Chapel on Clarence Street into a small Sainsbury’s were opposed by hundreds of people who signed a petition against the scheme in 2014.

But despite objections, the project was approved and work on the Grade II listed building began in January 2017.

However, the store will now be a Co-op rather than a Sainsbury’s. An application for Co-op signs to be installed on the building was submitted to City of York Council in November.

A spokesman for Co-op confirmed the new store will open on March 22, following a £450,000 investment. Sixteen new jobs will be created.

He added that the shop will have an in-store bakery and Costa Coffee dispenser as well as fresh food and household items.

Amy Mullins, Co-op store manager, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to carry out such a significant investment in York and we are really looking forward to serving the local community.

“Our ambition is to ensure the store is a local hub, a real asset for the community.”

The building was previously owned by York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and used as offices and storage but it was bought by developer S Harrison.

The scheme also includes 14 new flats to the rear of the supermarket and two on the first floor. Planning permission for the project was granted in April 2016.

A Co-op spokesman said the company plans to open 100 new shops across the country in 2018 and York students with an NUS extra card will be able get a 10 per cent discount on their shopping bill at the Clarence Street branch.

Michael Calvert, area manager for the Co-op, said: “We also want customers to know that they can become a co-owner and member of their Co-op. And, that we are also giving back to the community. Our members make a difference locally, simply by swiping their membership card when they shop with us they are raising much-needed funding for organisations in the area who contribute to improving local life.”