A poll suggests Portobello residents back plans for a new Sainsbury’s Local store.
Sainsbury’s plans to create around 25 full and part-time jobs with its new branch after taking over Woodwares Mica Hardware on the High Street.
Some residents and local businesses plan to fight the move amid concerns about the impact the supermarket giant would have on the area.
But a straw poll on Facebook found more respondents were in favour of the plans than against. The result comes amidst claims other businesses could be put off investing in the High Street to avoid confronting an “anti-brigade”.
The survey, on the Talk Porty community Facebook page, found 40 per cent of respondents were “pleased or very pleased” with the proposals, with 26 per cent neutral.
Of the 241 responses, 34 per cent said they were “unhappy or very unhappy”, while traders were split down the middle at 50/50.
Lynda Gauld, 57, said: “People in Portobello are in favour of this. There have been countless campaigns to regenerate the High Street and now what we see is a negative protest attempting if not to halt it, then at least to derail it somewhat.
“The investment of such a big name on to our High Street should be heralded as an endorsement of a vibrant and viable place to do business.
“A negative campaign could scare off other investors because they will know they are going to be confronted by an ‘anti’ brigade.”
Opponents of the plans are expected to object to any application the store makes to sell alcohol, arguing that with ten other outlets on Portobello High Street already stocking booze off-sales it would amount to over-provision.
Another meeting is expected to be held in the coming weeks to discuss plans to oppose the store.
Portobello resident Mark Dryburn, 43, said: “Those local traders who offer a quality service don’t have anything to fear, I feel, as locals will continue to use them. A positive campaign to support traders would be more beneficial than yet more negativity emanating from Portobello.
“We run the risk of putting new businesses off even contemplating locating here with the constant negative pressures working in the community.”
A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: “We are really pleased with the response we have had from the Portobello area and this survey appears to support that. There are mixed views but it’s clear there is strong support for the store as well.
“Portobello is a fantastic community, it’s a thriving area and that’s why Sainsbury’s is very pleased to be a part of it.”