BEMUSED residents and shop workers hit out after parking spaces disappeared from outside a Tesco store.

Motorists stopping off at the Tesco Express on Southend Road, Grays, arrived to find the front parking bays had gone - just days after a new zebra crossing was introduced nearby.

However, the council claims changes were needed following an accident outside the store last July, when a schoolgirl was knocked down.

Terry Brookes, 57, who works in the Tesco which opened in 2012, has gathered 200 signatures for a petition opposing the crossing and removal of the spaces.

He said the road has been made even more dangerous since the zebra crossing was put in and believes the lack of parking will deter people from using the store, which will ultimately cost jobs.

He said: “The road is dangerous.

“You see cars flying down here, but this is a half-baked crossing. It would make far more sense to have put the crossing elsewhere on the road.”

Motorist Susan Williams, 37, from South Ockendon, who regularly uses the road, said: “I am sure this is just a joke. They put a crossing here and the barriers have already been damaged. It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

On Twitter, Hayley Childerley said: “I have stopped shopping there [the Tesco] as it’s becoming such a hassle.”

A spokesman for Tesco would not be drawn on whether the firm had actually agreed with the changes.

He said: “The council said the changes were for the benefit of the safety of local people. It’s their responsibility. We just work with them.”

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A council spokesman added: “The council discussed safety measures with ward councillors, Tesco Express and residents, including the need for a pedestrian crossing. Only one objection was received to the proposal.

“The issue of safety was brought into stark focus following a serious road traffic accident outside the store.”