A developer has defended controversial plans to build a third Sainsbury’s store within a mile radius.

Anderson Group is hoping to build a Sainsbury’s Local and six flats, along with 16 car parking spaces, on a former car park site in Church Hill, Loughton.

Neighbours and shop owners in the area have raised concerns about additional traffic, parking problems and the demise of similar businesses in the neighbourhood.

Sainsbury's also have stores in Torrington Drive and Old Station Road. 

But Rory Anderson, of Anderson Group said the proposal will boost the local economy.

He said: “We believe the proposals would bring a number of benefits to the area, by providing a high quality development with new housing for the local community.

“The Sainsbury’s Local would provide choice and value for residents, as well as 20 to 25 new jobs and can benefit existing retailers by increasing footfall in the local area.

“The ‘Local’ format stores are much smaller than superstores and designed for local people topping up their weekly food shop.

“They typically serve a limited area, with the majority of customers living within walking distance.

“Visits by car tend to be made by people already driving past on route to another destination, therefore the proposals would not significantly increase traffic in the area.

“It would not be in Sainsbury’s interest to operate a store that is difficult or unsafe for customers to access.

“It always operates its stores with respect for its neighbours and is committed to minimising noise and disruption.”

Taz Moustafa, who has owned Mosaic Cafe in Golding’s Hill for 10 years said: “I cannot see the cafe getting any extra customers as a result of Sainsbury coming in."

A formal planning application is yet to be submitted to Epping Forest District Council.