The potential impact on businesses in the centre of Helston has prompted district councillors to reject plans for a new Tesco store in the town.

Fears for the livelihoods of local traders prompted scores of residents to object to a proposal to build a new store double the size of the existing one.

Those fears were yesterday backed up by members of Kerrier district council's planning committee, who said the supermarket giant had not proved that the development - and in particular the proposed sale of non-food items - would not have a detrimental impact on the town centre.

Tesco corporate affairs manager Tony Fletcher said he was "disappointed but not totally surprised" by the decision.

The company was considering its position and would make a decision on how to proceed - possibly through an appeal - within the next few weeks.

The decision came as rival retailer Sainsbury's revealed figures showing "overwhelming" public support for plans to build one of its stores in Helston.

Planning permission is being sought for a Sainsbury's store and petrol station on land off Clodgey Lane that is currently part of the Flambards theme park.

The company, along with property developers Terrace Hill, carried out a public consultation process in the town earlier this year.

Of the 327 responses received, 301 supported the proposal - many saying the choice of supermarkets in Helston was inadequate and that the town would benefit from increased competition with regard to food shopping.

A report analysing the findings stated: "The need for a quality food retailer to provide competition between supermarkets and choice for local residents has been strongly corroborated by local residents.

"Other reasons given in support of the proposals - the need for more competitive pricing of petrol, good customer service and adequate provision of stock and fresh produce - reveal the shortcomings provided by the existing supermarket provision."

The companies have pledged to address concerns over potential traffic problems at the proposed access to the new store near the hospital cross roundabout and also the importance of providing adequate public transport from Helston and neighbouring villages.