A group of shopkeepers and a local councillor opposed Tesco’s plans to open a new store in Whitechapel. Building work had already begun on a new Tesco Metro store in Fieldgate Street. A council development committee approved the site for 12,333 sq. ft. for retail use in July 2008 and for 103,690 sq. ft. of student accommodation. A Councillor circulated a petition to residents and shopkeepers in nearby streets protesting the move. He argued that a new store isn’t wanted because it would be just 130 yards from an existing Tesco Express in Whitechapel Road.