CAMPAIGNERS are hopeful the new Lidl supermarket due to open on Portland tomorrow will be served by the island's regular bus service.

Passengers are to be asked about potential changes to First's service 1 King's Statue-Portland which may be altered in the next few months to serve the new store.

The Hamm Beach Road Lidl store is set to open tomorrow – and originally there were no plans for a local bus provider to stop at the site.

The nearest stop is Victoria Square, several hundred metres away.

In response to this, a petition was set up on behalf of Portland resident Penny Davage, calling on First to serve the new store.

She is registered blind but tries to be as independent as possible, although admits her biggest frustration is relying on the goodwill of friends to take her shopping.

She said: "All the biggest and most economical supermarkets are not on a bus route. We finally have such a supermarket on Portland and it is still too far out and unavailable to me.

"This extra service will mean a lot to the non drivers on the island, of which there are many. We have a major parking problem here, therefore many residents have either given up their cars or are frightened to move them.

"What is the point of a decent supermarket when it too far out for so many?"

Portland Mayor Sue Cocking was also critical about the lack of a bus service.

She said: "It's silly that all it's got to do is turn left and go a little bit further and they will get more business.

"There are a lot of potential customers who don't drive and don't have a lot of money so Lidl and First should work together and sort something out."

The petition has had more than 700 signatures since it was started and now First has said it will start asking current passengers about possible changes to its service to possibly incorporate a stop at the Lidl store next year.

Marc Reddy, Managing Director for First Wessex, said: "We will consult our existing loyal customers if they are supportive of the minor diversion and extra journey time.

"A route change would also need Dorset Council’s buy-in, as they are responsible for erecting bus shelters at the new bus stops.”

The consultation period is expected to last up to three weeks.

A Lidl spokesman said: "Since submitting plans for our new supermarket in Portland, we have been in talks with First regarding the possibility of our store being added to the local bus route.

"We are in ongoing discussions with First and will update local residents on any further developments. We're grateful for the continued local support."