BATTLE lines have been drawn to defend the High Street shops, which give the village its unique character, from a supermarket invasion.
Many residents, who are proud of the rural flavour of their village, spoke up at a meeting of Harefield Tenants'And Residents' Association (HTRA) last Thursday, when the plans for Tesco to build an express store on the former King's Arms service station in Rickmansworth Road were revealed.
Pauline Crawley, chairwoman of HTRA, told a packed meeting that the consultation carried out by Tesco showed a 50-50 split among 462 local residents for and against the idea of a store.
The two storey Tesco Express would require a new building and the conversion of an existing listed workshop. The ground floor would be a convenience store, and three one bedoom flats formed part of the plans.
Mrs Crawley stressed they could only object on planning grounds, adding: "But we don't want to end up with shops closing down, as it impacts on the whole community.
"The proposed opening hours (7am-11pm, seven days a week) are not reasonable and it would be inappropriate having delivery vehicles late at night."
Other people at the meeting pointed out the plus side: there would be greater choice, the possibility of a cash machine which the village does not have and how it could be easier for older people to shop at an Express.
Mrs Crawley asked people to write down any objections and send them to her by Friday and she would incorporate them in the association's response.
Objections are being gathered by local traders, to go to Hillingdon Council's north planning committee, which will consider the application.
Shops taking part include D&L Butchers, Spa, O'Donaghue's, Harefield Wines, The Village Bakery and Harefield Pharmacy.
The shopkeepers wrote: "The idea that Tesco may open a store in Harefield is a disgrace. The businesses would suffer and possibly even close down altogether; this would create empty, derelict premises that would be difficult to fill, sending Harefield into decline."
They are concerned about the volume of traffic, parking, and the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.
The shopkeepers are backed by ward councillor Richard Barnes (Con), who also lives in the village .
He said: "I'm all in favour of supporting our local shops and given that there is a Tesco only three miles down the road I don't see the need for one in the village."