TESCO has confirmed it intends to open one of its Express convenience stores on the site of the Wilthorpe pub.

Deborah Hayeems, corporate affairs manager for Yorkshire, said: “We believe a small Tesco store here will offer people convenience, choice and great quality fresh produce on their doorstep. People tell us that Express stores save them from making as many trips to the supermarket.”

She said the building on Huddersfield Road would be converted and open by early next year. As well as internal changes, a cash machine and bollards would be installed at the front and a small extension built to the rear.

Plans will be submitted to Barnsley Council soon. Modifications to the front of the building would be kept to a minimum to preserve the heritage value.

She added there would be about 20 jobs with recruitment targeted locally.

Ashish Patel owns Yogi Convenience store a few hundreds yards from the proposed Tesco Express and launched WASP - Wilthorpe Against Supermarket Plans - when he heard about the proposal.

He started the petition and said more people had signed it this week, taking the total to almost 500.