SUPERMARKET giant Asda has confirmed it is looking to open a new store in Salisbury.

A spokesman for the chain said it is “looking at a range of options with regard to bringing forward a new store” in the city.

One site currently being investigated is an empty plot of land called Salisbury Retail Park off London Road near the Bishopdown Farm and Hampton Park estates.

An environmental impact assessment screening opinion for the site has been run by Wiltshire Council.

This gives environmental organisations and statutory bodies the chance to comment and helps Wiltshire Council officers determine if a full environmental impact assessment is necessary.

The consultation runs until tomorrow.

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said this decision would precede any full planning application, when members of the public would have their chance to comment.

He added that any full application could be months away.

In recent years there have been repeated calls for a supermarket to be built to the north or west of Salisbury. Residents say it would stop them having to travel along the traffic-choked Southampton Road to Tesco, or going to Waitrose near the busy ring road.

Sainsbury’s is also planning to build a new store in the city but has favoured the A36 Southampton Road so it can compete with the Tesco store opposite.

Signatures are currently being collected on a petition calling for Sainsbury’s to rethink its plan and to look for an alternative site.

Another 500 homes are being built at Hampton Park near the Salisbury Retail Park site and the land is also near Laverstock and Old Sarum where there have been many new houses built.

However, previous plans to build retail units on the site also sparked objections from residents amid fears of more traffic congestion and possible problems at St Thomas’s railway bridge, which is narrow and low.

An Asda store was planned for Solstice Park near the A303 but the chain pulled out after Tesco were given permission to build off London Road in nearby Amesbury.

The Asda spokesman said no additional information was available at this time but the supermarket chain might be able to say more about its plans in coming weeks.