Residents have reacted angrily to news a Tesco convenience store could replace a garden built by residents on a derelict petrol station.

Rumours have circulated that the supermarket giant will move into a unit in a complex of two shops and seven flats due to be built at the site of the Lewes Road Community Garden, a former Esso at the corner of Lewes Road and Edinburgh Road.

A campaign against the feared Tesco Express has already been launched, with a Facebook group attracting 422 members in three days, after one resident, John Hales, said the corporation's head office had confirmed to him the rumours were true.

Members of the new campaign group, Say No To Lewes Road Tesco, will meet at the garden on Wednesday at 11am to discuss their reaction.

However Tesco yesterday refused to confirm or deny the rumours while the site's owners, Alburn Minos Development Ltd, have insisted no contracts have been signed for the units they will build, although they said they expect one to be a convenience store. The other could become a betting shop.

Guerrilla gardeners who transformed the long-empty eyesore plot by breaking in and bringing in turf, plants, flowers and furniture, said they were not sure how to respond.

When they were first informed of Alburn's plans to build the gardeners announced they would hold a party to celebrate its success on December 6 before clearing it the following weekend.

Some of the campaigners have since called for them to refuse to move out.