A rat problem and road congestion will be caused if plans for a supermarket to replace yet another pub in Aldershot go ahead, neighbours have warned.

The Heroes of Lucknow pub in North Lane, which closed in May after Punch Taverns sold the building, will be turned into a Co-operative food shop with a 10-space car park if an application to Rushmoor Borough Council is successful.

The Co-op revealed that, if permission is granted, it would spell the end for its current shop in the North Town shopping area, with all staff being relocated to the new, bigger supermarket.

Current planning policy states that change of use permission is not required to turn pubs into supermarkets and a string of venues have been converted throughout Rushmoor and beyond in recent years, prompting a campaign by the Campaign for Real Ale group.

Because of this, the North Lane plans seek only to add a single-storey extension to the rear of the building and install an automatic sliding door with the creation of a ramp and steps to the front entrance to allow for the conversion.

A report supporting the application, prepared for The Co-op by Wellsfield Associates, states that a need for a convenience store had been identified to serve residents in the area.

This is despite the recent addition of a Sainsbury’s Local in nearby Ash Road, which itself replaced the Prince of Wales pub.

'Unbearable noise'

In addition to the store currently in North Lane, there are other nearby Co-op shops in Queens Road, Victoria Road and at the junction of Church Road and Lower Farnham Road, where the Heron Hotel once stood.

A spokesman for the Co-op said: “A new larger store on North Lane will allow us to provide an even better service for our customers.

“It is an ideal location and we are very confident the new store will be an asset to Aldershot.

“Should the planning application be successful, the existing store in North Lane will remain open until the new store opens, after which it will stop trading.”

The application was re-validated on Friday, after the original application was made in March, when additional information required by the council was obtained.

Letters were sent out to neighbours and four members of the public offered their thoughts. One argued that the road was already a rat run for delivery lorries, which caused "unbearable noise" for residents.

They added: “It sits next to two mini-roundabouts that are already a safety hazard, never mind shoppers parking in the road plus delivery lorries.”

Another respondent said if the existing Co-op closed it would make North Town look "even more run-down", while another argued increased litter would worsen problems with rats in the area.

Rushmoor Access Group, which campaigns on behalf of those with disabilities in the borough, questioned whether the access into the new store would be wide enough for wheelchair users and parents with buggies.

A decision on the plans is expected in September.