VILLAGERS have voiced fears that small shops cannot survive the combined onslaught of two supermarkets moving into Bourne End.

Sainsbury's looks set to move into the village as well as rival Tesco. Comland Plc was given permission to build five retail units, office space and homes in Parade Court, Bourne End, in January.

Last week Simon Funnell, investment and development director for Comland, revealed negotiations for Sainsbury's to move into one of the shops are at an advanced stage.

But Tesco also has a planning application to build an Express store and four flats nearby in The Parade, Bourne End.

Jim Penfold, chairman of Bourne End Residents' Association, is totally opposed to two supermarkets moving into the area.

Mr Penfold said: "There isn't enough money there to support everyone and it is not the big traders who will suffer. They can afford to take a loss knowing there are hundreds of other shops making money.

"Obviously for the small independent retailers, there is no way they can have sustained losses over a short period, let alone a long period."

Tesco's current application is the third one it has submitted, after the previous two were rejected. When Wycombe District Council was considering Comland's application, Tesco wrote to the council demanding the two cases be heard together.

The supermarket said the decision to grant permission to Comland would affect Tesco's application. But WDC heard them separately and Comland was given the go-ahead.

And now Mr Funnell believes Tesco has shot itself in the foot by proving with its own figures that Bourne End only needs one new store.

He said: "If Sainsbury's do move in, what the hell is it going to do to the village's centre if you open the Tesco as well. Tesco have said it themselves that there is no room for two stores.

"There is not enough retail space in the village to sustain two new village stores and the existing shops.

"They have said it in their own words, so shops are going to suffer. All I am quoting is Tesco's own arguments from their own application."

Comland were also in discussions with Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, but neither felt the site was ideal.

Although nothing has been signed yet, Mr Funnell is confident Sainsbury's will move into one of the new units.

A decision on Tesco's application is yet to be made. A Tesco spokesman said: "I'm unaware of the Sainsbury's proposals but from our point of view we believe our plans would benefit local residents by giving them choice, convenience and great value prices on their doorstep encouraging residents to top up shop locally rather than needing to travel elsewhere."