A Premier retailer in a Dartmoor village fears that plans to transform a former pub site into a Co-operative store would decimate his business.

Tony Hopkins, owner of Horrabridge Stores in Devon, said the village of 2,000 people would not sustain a new Co-operative store as well as his store and the local baker.

It would also cause traffic problems due to limited access to the site of the Leaping Salmon pub (pictured), where the Co-operative Group is planning to open, and put pressure on the Grade 1 listed bridge in Horrabridge, he added.

He said most residents were against the proposals, with more than 670 people having signed a protest petition.

“We’re concerned the Co-op would close after a couple of years because they’d realise it wasn’t viable, but by then they’d be nothing left in the village. The local baker is just as worried as us because the Co-op would sell hot food to go.

“There’s another Co-op two miles away and another a bit further in Tavistock. I only know one person who wants it.”

Due to recent changes to planning laws, the Co-operative does not need planning permission to convert a pub to a retail premises, even though Horrabridge is located within Dartmoor National Park.

But the Co-operative said it was planning to submit a planning application. “When we look to acquire new stores we have a clear, transparent and consistent process that includes the submission of a planning application and a comprehensive community engagement programme,” a spokesman said.

“There are many examples of how local independent stores can trade very successfully in close proximity to us and can offer complementary goods and services. By providing a wider range of shops it encourages more residents to do more of their shopping locally.”

A spokeswoman for Dartmoor National Park said: “Following recent changes to the Town and Country Planning Act in 2015 planning consent is no longer required to change the use from a pub to a shop. The only planning permissions required would be for any external alterations to the building.”