A supermarket chain has moved a step closer to opening a fourth store in the Braintree area after plans for a new shopfront and service yard were given the green light.

Tesco already has large stores at Marks Farm, Braintree, in Market Place, Braintree, and in Great Notley, while a smaller Tesco Express store now looks set to open in place of the former Kings Head pub in Coggeshall Road, Braintree.

Braintree Council has now approved the chain’s latest planning application - for a new shopfront, service yard and canopy at the site.

Applications for an extension to the building, external alterations and new signage had already been approved.

More than 400 people signed a petition against the new store, compiled by Vallipuram Vaseeharan, owner of the Jubilee Oak Express in nearby Cressing Road.

In it, concerns were expressed about loss of earnings for existing shops.

At last week’s meeting, fears were also raised about traffic, given the site is located near an already busy junction.

Although many committee members sympathised, they saw no policy reasons to object and the plans were approved.

Tesco expect the new store to open in the autumn.