Plans to build a Co-op store at the entrance to St Agnes have come under fire from locals who believe it will ruin independent businesses.

Westcountry Land & Homes has submitted a planning application to build the shop on Penwinnick Road, complete with storage, delivery space and 15 car parking spaces. It would also sit next to a new housing development of 39 properties being built by the same applicant.

There are currently over 70 comments about the proposal on Cornwall Council’s online planning register, with just four in favour.

Concerns include the possible effect on existing village businesses, the location on what has been described as a “dangerous bend”, the visual impact on the area, traffic congestion, noise and air pollution, and fears additional street lighting and illuminated signs would threaten St Agnes’ dark skies status.

However, those in favour of the application say it would provide healthy competition for the Spar and Costcutter shops in the village centre, would ease congestion caused by people parking outside those stores, and would bring jobs to the area.

Gillian Treleaven is part-owner of a shop in St Agnes and feels the Co-op “could be the beginning of a change of character in our village”.

She said: “All the small shops and businesses rely on each other. If a few have to close through lack of customers, the rest will also fail.

“There are very few villages in Cornwall like St Agnes, still vibrant and busy, and not dependent on multi-national stores. Tourists seem to appreciate our village and revisit annually. I wonder if they would if it was full of rundown or empty shops?”

Gary Hall, who also owns a business on St Agnes’ main street, said the two existing stores rendered a third unnecessary. “We also have wonderful independent fruit and veg, butchers, bakers that could all be put under threat by this proposal,” he added.

Niki Lillie pointed out on the planning portal that the Co-op was removed from a previous application in 2020 because of the strength of feeling in the village.

“This was presented as the applicant listening to public opinion and responding accordingly,” she said. “This new application has been made by the same applicant, totally disregarding the feedback they obtained in 2020.”

Tracy H “strongly supports” the application, saying: “Local stores are lacking in stock … and are expensive too.” Mrs L Gapp added that a new convenience store “would lessen the amount of cars parked on double yellows to run into shops, idling while waiting ten-plus minutes, causing pollution”.

The application is awaiting a decision. You can read more about the plans by searching for PA20/07522 on the council planning portal.