A second supermarket chain is planning to open a store near a site already earmarked for Loughton’s controversial third Sainsbury’s store.

The Co-operative Food is planning to open a new convenience store at 113 Church Hill, Loughton, despite the rival chain having already registered an interest in a neighbouring site where it hopes to build a store and flats.

The area is currently served by several convenience stores and three existing supermarkets within a mile’s walk, two of which are Sainsbury’s.

Businesses people and those living nearby have formed the group Residents Against The Third Sainsbury’s, claiming it would hit independent retailers and lead to traffic congestion.

The town council has already registered an objection to the plan.

Co-op has said it will submit a planning application and is currently liaising with local retailers. The company said residents will receive details through the post shortly.

A spokesperson for The Co-operative Food said: “We are confident a new store will be a popular addition to the retail environment in Loughton.

“Our focus is on providing choice and attracting more shoppers to the area so that everyone benefits.”

The store plan includes 12 car parking spaces which would be “actively managed” to prevent access when the store is closed, deter commuter parking and deter anti-social behaviour.

Steve Short, member of RATTS, said: "We will oppose the Co-operative's plans for the same reasons as we did for the Sainsbury's proposal."

Epping Forest District Council is set to consider the Sainsbury’s plan on September 3.

For more information on this story see this week's Epping Forest Guardian - out tomorrow.