A historic pub is set to become a Tesco Express despite being just 500 yards - or a two minute walk - from a Tesco Express.

The Grove Tavern, built in the 19th century at the junction of Kingston Road and Morden Road, was closed earlier this year and bought by an unknown owner.

Earlier this month, Tesco made a series of planning applications to Merton Council to convert the building into a Tesco Express.

There is already a Tesco Express store nearby, at the Esso garage site in Morden Road.

Dale Ingram, from pub protection campaigners Camra, said Tesco was highly likely to succeed because planning law lumps pubs and supermarkets in the same category.

She said: “With the rumour circulating that the tile shop across the road is to become a Sainsbury’s Local, it would appear South Wimbledon is ripe for an explosion in obesity.

“There will be four convenience goods shops within 100 yards of each other. Pointless.

“The Grove was a much loved local with a loyal music following. What is going to happen to the upper floors is anybody’s guess, but I would venture an application for self contained flats cannot be far away.”

A Tesco Express is so named because it is a considered a convenience store, as opposed to a supermarket, and is less than 280 sq m in size.

A Tesco Metro is generally bigger is considered by the company to be an urban supermarket.

Matthew Magee, Tesco’s corporate affairs manager, said: “The two stores would serve different types of customers.

"The Express store in the Esso garage serves car-borne traffic, often passing through the area while using the petrol facilities.

“The store at the former Grove pub we expect to be residents on foot who are using the Tube station.

“We are looking forward to creating about 20 new jobs and providing a new convenient store for our customers.”